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Hunan Province Reports HIV Carriers on Rapid Rise

The number of HIV carriers in central China's Hunan Province has been rising rapidly, according to a report by the provincial disease control center.

The number of new HIV carriers in the first nine months this year approximates the total number of the past 13 years, the report says.

Among the carriers, 66 percent were infected through unsafe drug use, 17 percent through unsafe sex, and 7 percent through blood transfusions. The causes of the remaining infections have yet to be identified.

In February 1992, the first person infected with HIV in the province was found among a group of persons that had recently returned from abroad. As of September 2005, HIV carriers in the province amounted to 2, 248, of whom 241 have AIDS.

During the period from 1992 to 1994, two HIV infections were reported on average every year. But in the first nine months this year, the registered cases have increased to 999. In the past two years, the province even reported five HIV cases among children, including a nine-day-old infant.

"The rapid growth of HIV carriers is partly due to the establishment of more examination sites so that more cases can be diagnosed. Additionally, the virus is now transmitted in more complicated ways," said Chen Xi, an official with the province disease control center.

China reported having more than 120,000 HIV carriers and nearly 30,000 AIDS patients as of last June, and 7,000 are believed to have died from the disease. The figures are expected to be updated before World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1.

(Xinhua News Agency November 27, 2005)

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