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Foreign aid workers say they are not aware of a single discovery of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and believe the regime stands a good chance of dealing with it once it enters the isolated country.
"North Korea actually has a unique opportunity to prevent an HIV epidemic," said Eigil Sorensen, a Pyongyang-based representative for the World Health Organization.
According to the Norwegian doctor, North Korea has several "comparative advantages" that partly result from the tight reins imposed on society by its rulers.
"Commercial sex is not a big thing, while intravenous drug abuse, which has been a very important mechanism for spreading the disease in many other countries, isn't there," he said. "And its not a very promiscuous society."