654,000 living with HIV/AIDS in China

There were 654,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China by the end of September, with 201,000 deaths, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday.

Sexual transmission accounted for 94 percent of infections, and it noted more transmissions among the young and older males.

From January to September, 2,321 students, aged between 15 to 24, tested positive for HIV/AIDS, 4.1 times the number in 2010. In addition, 13,000 men aged over 60 discovered they were carrying the virus, 3.6 times the figure in 2010, the center said.

About 96,000 new cases were reported in the first nine months.

Heterosexual transmission accounted for 66.7 percent of all cases, and homosexual activities accounted for 27.5 percent of transmissions, the center said, adding that mother-to-child and intravenous drug infection rates were low.

Last year more than 32,000 men were reported to be infected with the virus through homosexual activities. In 2010 the figure was 7,675.

Premier Li Keqiang has ordered more initiatives to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS.

In a written instruction to a meeting on prevention and control of major diseases in Beijing on Tuesday, Li said the Party’s Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS.

While commending “marked progress” during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), he ordered more efforts in controlling the spread of HIV and AIDS during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

Intervention needs to be more efficient, testing and counseling services more accessible, public education more targeted and follow-up services improved, Li said.

He also ordered “across-the-board implementation” of testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, medical assistance and other policy measures.

Li guaranteed prevention and control funds, drug research and development, international cooperation and greater roles for social organizations and volunteers.

In Shanghai, health officials said there had been fewer new HIV infections so far this year, though the figure for young men had risen significantly.

By November 20, the city had 1,959 new HIV cases, 0.8 percent fewer than in the same period last year. They include 760 AIDS patients, up 2.3 percent.

A total of 178 HIV/AIDS-related new deaths were reported, up 17.9 percent.

About 92 percent of the new cases are male, with 87.9 percent of the males aged between 18 and 54. “Males between 18 and 24 cover 20.2 percent (of males between 18 and 54). The figure is 318 so far this year, about 80 percent higher than last year’s 177 cases,” said Wang Panshi, the commission’s vice director.

Sex is still the major cause of HIV transmission, the commission said, accounting for 96.7 percent of this year’s cases. Sex between men accounted for 64 percent of cases, slightly lower than the year before.

The city had no local cases of mother-to-infant infection. The only case was a woman from another province who came to Shanghai for treatment.

So far this year, 27 pregnant women tested positive for HIV and received intervention treatment.

Since the city reported its first HIV/AIDS case in 1987, Shanghai has recorded 17,418 HIV cases including 5,720 AIDS patients. There have been 1,263 deaths.

“The prevalence of HIV/AIDS remained at a low level in the city, which has launched HIV consultation and primary tests in all neighborhood health centers and carried out continuous education among the public,” said Zhuang Minghua of the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


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