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NW China region reports sharp rise in HIV/AIDS cases
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The number of reported cases of HIV/AIDS rose by 50 percent last year to 216 in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Gansu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (GPCDC) said Sunday only 10 people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2000.

Fifty-five people already showed full-blown AIDS symptoms and 34 others had died of the disease in the past year, said Yu Ailing, head of STD/HIV/AIDS prevention at the GPCDC.

Yu denied the spread of the killer disease in the mountain-locked province was serious.

"The main reason behind the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases year on year lies in the fact the government has stepped up efforts to prevent and control the spread of HIV/AIDS, and tests and monitoring were tightened accordingly," said Yu.

She insisted HIV/AIDS was spreading slowly in Gansu in comparison with other Chinese mainland regions.

A total of 682 HIV/AIDS cases had been reported in Gansu since 1993 when the first case was found, and 113 people had died of AIDS.

The province has increased funding and tightened HIV/AIDS prevention measures, which have extended to cover active homosexuals as well as sex workers and intravenous drug takers.

In the past year, more than 80,000 condoms were distributed and educational brochures were given to gays to improve the awareness of the disease.

China's Ministry of Health, the UNAIDS program and the World Health Organization estimated that around 700,000 Chinese were living with HIV/AIDS by the end of 2007, including 85,000 AIDS patients.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2009)

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