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China Has Over 1 Million HIV Carriers

China is estimated to have 1.04 million HIV carriers, including 200,000 who have died of AIDS, the disease caused by the HIV virus, Chinese AIDS prevention expert Dai Zhicheng disclosed Thursday.


By the end of 2002, China had only 40,560 reported HIV cases. However, according to experts, the actual figure was much higher and AIDS prevention in the country was very serious, said Dai, vice president of the China Association for HIV/AIDS and Venereal Disease Prevention, at a meeting for an AIDS prevention program of the China Red Cross held in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province.


According to the 2002 China HIV/AIDS Report, blood is the major means of HIV transmission and 63.7 percent of the blood transmission is through intravenous drug use. About 8.1 percent of China's HIV carriers were infected with the virus through sex and 53.6 percent of the HIV carriers in China are young people between the age of 20 to 29.


The top three provinces and regions with the most HIV carriers are Yunnan Province, west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The HIV carriers in the west are mainly drug users, in the central area mainly blood donors and in the west or coastal area mainly prostitutes and venereal disease sufferers.


The biggest danger for HIV infection in China was intravenous drug use, said Dai. According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security, China has 596,000 recorded drug users, distributed in 2,033 counties, 80 percent of whom are young people. Experts estimated that the actual number of drug users was eight to 10 times of the registered figure and more people are choosing to take drugs through intravenous injection.


The global figure for HIV carriers had reached 42 million by the end of 2002. The figure by the end of the 20th century was 33.6 million but in 2002 the world had five million new HIV carriers and 3.1 million died of AIDS that year.


China has made specific AIDS prevention plans, aiming to keep the number of HIV carriers in the country under 1.5 million by 2010.


(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2003)

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