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AIDS Rising in Guangdong

A top provincial health official yesterday urged local residents to shun casual sex and be faithful to their spouses after a total of 749 more people were detected to be either AIDS patients or HIV carriers in the first 10 months of the year.

The AIDS victims include 18 patients and 731 HIV carriers, according to Feng Liuxiang, deputy director-general of the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Health, yesterday. In addition, one AIDS patient had died this year.

The number of AIDS patients and its virus carriers detected between January and October saw big growth from the corresponding months of the previous year, Feng said.

And casual sex has been attributed by health experts to be one of the major reasons that has caused the rapid spread of AIDS in Guangdong Province, which has taken the lead in China to open up to the rest of the world, Feng said.

Other AIDS victims are believed to have been infected with the fatal disease through intravenous injections while using drugs as well as blood transfusions, Feng said.

This year's figure has helped bring Guangdong's total number of AIDS patients and HIV carriers to 4,532 by the end of last month.

Of them, 162 are AIDS patients, 4,370 are HIV carriers. And 49 AIDS patients have died.

Feng predicted that prosperous Guangdong Province, which borders Hong Kong and Macao would have, in fact has more than 30,000 AIDS patients and HIV carriers province-wide.

With Guangdong's opening drive continuing, the province's number of AIDS patients and HIV carriers will continue to grow in the future, becoming a serious threat to the southern Chinese province, Feng said.

Guangdong officials will seek more international co-operation and overseas financial support in fighting AIDS in the coming years, Feng said.

(China Daily November 26, 2003)

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