As the HIV-Aids epidemic rages throughout Asia, the region is facing a serious shortage of doctors specially trained to deal with the killer disease, a new report warns. The latest TreatAsia Report said there were not enough trained doctors to administer the anti-viral therapy necessary to combat the spread of HIV-Aids in the region. 'As manufacturers of generic drugs begin to proliferate in Asia and growing numbers have access to lifesaving treatment, a serious shortage of trained physicians threatens to undermine the safe and effective delivery of antiretroviral therapy to the estimated 1.3 million people who need it,' it said. The report said the scarcity of trained doctors appeared to be most dire in Vietnam - where there was only one trained physician for every 11,250 HIV-carriers. In Hong Kong, one doctor has to treat 300 HIV-infected patients, whereas in China, the ratio is 1:4,200. 'In the absence of trained healthcare workers,' the report said, 'a significant number of people are likely to begin 'self-medicating', independently purchasing antiretroviral drugs in local pharmacies and haphazardly taking drugs with little or no directions.' Most Asian countries lack HIV prevention programmes and fail to provide condoms and effective treatment, the report added. It suggested a regional database of generic manufacturers should be established. This would allow countries to determine medications which were currently available or in short supply. Former president of the International Aids Society Joep Lange has said: 'We need to scale up training efforts quickly and develop a better mechanism for quality control of drugs.' Meanwhile, the report also highlighted the findings of recent studies which reveal alarming developments about the spread of Aids in Asia. Latest statistics cited in the TreatAsia Report showed that an estimated 7.4 million people in Asia are now living with HIV. There were a staggering 1.1 million new infections in 2003 in Asia - more than were recorded in 2002. According to the mainland health ministry, China has 840,000 HIV carriers, but unofficial estimates put the number much higher. UNAids, a United Nations body, said recently that China's HIV and Aids population could jump to 10 million by 2010 if nothing is done to curb the epidemic. In Hong Kong, latest Health Department figures put the number of reported HIV infections at 2,384. About 80 per cent of these cases were sexually transmitted.