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China Reports New HIV/AIDS Statistics

The accumulated number of confirmed HIV/AIDS cases throughout the country was 26,058 at the end of June, this year, including 1, 111 fully-blown AIDS cases, Yin Dakui, vice minister of Health, told the press here Thursday.

But he added the total number of HIV-positive people was estimated to have surpassed 600,000 at the end of last year.

Since the disease was first discovered in China in 1985, 584 patients have died, according to him.

The confirmed number of HIV infections in the first half of this year was 67.4 percent higher than that for the same period of last year.

The rise in the average infection rate among drug users, from 0. 04 percent in 1995 to nearly five percent last year, indicated that drug use remains the leading cause of the rapid HIV/AIDS increase, said a press release provided by the Ministry of Health.

Intravenous drug use and sexual contact were responsible for 69. 8 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively, of the HIV infection cases.

According to the Health Ministry, the HIV infection rate in the area of underground prostitution had climbed from zero in 1995 to 1.32 percent last year.

To make the situation more complicated and worse, only 9.1 percent of prostitutes were found to be using condoms frequently, and many HIV-positive prostitutes were also drug users, said the press release. The press release also disclosed, though giving no details, that some blood stations neither abided by standard procedures nor conducted HIV tests on blood while collecting blood plasma, causing a high rate of HIV infection among some blood sellers.

"We must make arduous efforts to restrain the epidemic since China is a developing country with a huge population," the vice minister said.

The State Council, China's cabinet, published a Plan of Action for the Restraint and Control of HIV/AIDS in China (2001-2005) last May in a bid to keep the number of HIV infection under 1.5 million by 2010.

The annual increase rates of HIV-positive people and STD patients should be below 10 percent by the year 2005, while the average risk level of HIV transmissions through clinical blood transfusion should be below one per 100,000, according to the plan.

The Chinese government has decided to allocate 100 million yuan (US$12 million) from the central budget every year to fund prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and STDs, and 950 million yuan will be invested in the construction of a blood collection and supply network to ensure blood safety.

(Xinhua News Agency08/23/20)

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