HIV on the rise among Chinese, both young and old

2012-11-28 08:02:12 GMT2012-11-28 16:02:12(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

HIV rates have risen significantly among people aged 15 to 24 and those over 50, China's health authority announced yesterday.

From January to October, 16,131 new cases of HIV infection among people over 50 were reported, a year-on-year increase of 20.2 percent. There were also 9,514 new cases of HIV among young people aged 15 to 24, up 12.8 percent, the Ministry of Health said.

The ministry also said that 17,740 AIDS-related deaths were reported the first 10 months, a rise of 8.6 percent.

It said nine provincial regions accounted for 79.9 percent of reported HIV carriers and AIDS patients. The regions weren't named.

The ministry said the latest figures showed that 34,157 new cases of AIDS were reported in the 10-month period, up by 12.7 percent year-on-year.

In total, China reported 492,191 cases of HIV/AIDS by the end of October, including 68,802 new cases.

Figures for Shanghai are to be announced tomorrow but on November 25 last year the city had 1,294 new HIV carriers, 509 new AIDS patients and 64 AIDS-related deaths.

Of the new carriers, about 68 percent were from out of town, Shanghai Health Bureau said.

At the time, the city had a total of 7,498 HIV carriers and 1,813 AIDS patients, with 307 deaths, since the first HIV case was reported in 1987 and the first AIDS patient was identified in 1996.

Sun Xinhua, of the ministry's disease control and prevention bureau, said 84.9 percent of the new cases reported this year were the result of unprotected sex, according to China News Service.

Sun said the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among male homosexuals was rising quickly. HIV transmission between homosexual men accounted for 21.1 percent of new cases so far this year, compared to 15 percent in the same period in 2011.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang has promised to let non-government groups play a bigger role in fighting HIV/AIDS.

At a meeting with non-government groups on Monday, he told them: "You have a greater understanding of what sufferers want. The government will continue to offer support and pay even greater attention to and listen more closely to the voices of civil society groups and you will be given greater space to play your role."

State television showed pictures of Li shaking hands with sufferers. In China, discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is rampant, even in the health-care community.

Meanwhile, Lei Zhenglong, vice director of the disease control and prevention bureau, told an AIDS forum in Liaoning Province that China had offered free treatment to nearly 200,000 AIDS patients and the mortality of AIDS patients undergoing treatment had dropped from 31 percent to 10 percent.

However, challenges remained. The change of the main spreading vehicle from blood to sex made prevention and control more difficult, Lei said.

According to China's AIDS Action Plan for the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) published by the State Council in February, the country aims to decrease AIDS fatalities by 30 percent by 2015, and new cases by 25 percent as compared to 2010.

Since the end of 2003, the government has carried out the policy of "four frees, one care" for people living with HIV/AIDS. This includes free blood tests for those with HIV, free education for orphans of AIDS patients, free consultation and screening tests, and free antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women.

(Agencies)

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