Experts Estimate 600,000-1 Million AIDS Victims in China

China will have about 600,000 to 1 million AIDS victims this year and AIDS will cost China 460-770 billion yuan annually, according to the China News Monthly.

An official report in the magazine pointed out that AIDS was virtually unheard of in China 15 years ago, but the number of AIDS victims in China reached 15,000 cases in 1999. Experts predict that, on the conservative side, there are at least 500,000 people infected with the AIDS virus, and that number is increasing at an annual rate of 30%.

Zeng Yi, an AIDS researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China News Monthly, "If measures are not taken immediately, China will have the most AIDS victims in the world and the spread of AIDS will become a national disaster."

According to Zeng, by the time there are 600,000-1 million AIDS victims, it will cost between 460 - 770 billion yuan in economic losses annually. Once the AIDS virus becomes widespread, it will destroy the hard-earned results of China's economic reforms.

The Ministry of Health revealed that between 1985, when the first AIDS victim in China was discovered, and late September 1999, there have been 15,088 reported AIDS victims in the People's Republic of China, 477 of which were AIDS patients and 240 of which were dead.

But AIDS researchers point out that this figure does not describe the danger posed by the spreading of the AIDS virus. They say, "This [figure] has little significance on the size of the epidemic, it will only mislead policymakers and cause them to miss the excellent opportunity to fight AIDS."

The article pointed out that before 1994, most of China's AIDS victims were drug users in the Yunnan province. After 1994, AIDS spread out of Yunnan to the rest of the country. A June 1998 report by Qinghai Province discovered that within only four years, AIDS had spread to 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of China. Experts say that the number of AIDS victims is increasing steadily. In 1993, there were 10,000 AIDS victims in China. The figure rose to 30,000, 100,000 and 300,000 respectively in 1994, 1995 and 1998. By 1999, a conservative estimation showed the figure was 500,000.

Currently, China hasn’t done enough to fight against the AIDS virus. Many have died of it in different parts of China. The spreading speed of virus has surpassed that of Africa.

(People’s Daily)

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