Free HIV/AIDS trial tests would be offered in four Shenzhen communities following a sharp increase in the number of people with the potentially fatal disease, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported.
The report said the number of people with HIV/AIDS increased by 136 percent in the first nine months this year, compared with the same period last year. However, the paper did not state the specific number.
An earlier report in May in the Shenzhen Economic Daily said 652 people had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
Experts from the city's disease prevention and control center attributed the increase to the large floating population and stepped up efforts to increase the testing rate throughout the city.
Most of the people found with HIV/AIDS in Shenzhen were males, with an average age of 31 years, the center said.
More than 56 percent were intravenous drug users.
Permanent residents accounted for only 5.6 percent of the total.
Shenzhen had offered free HIV/AIDS tests to more than 100,000 pregnant women this year and found 11 with the disease, the center said.
The city would strengthen efforts in anti-AIDS promotion among gay groups, improve public awareness of safe sex, and control on drug users to tackle the spread of the disease, the center said.
The four communities to receive free tests are Liantang in Luohu, Xiasha in Futian, Buji in Longgang and Mingzi in Longhua, Bao'an District.
Residents in these areas would also be offered free condoms and health brochures, the center said.
The city would also strengthen international cooperation in tackling the disease as experts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conducted research in Shenzhen on Friday.
The fund was created in January 2000, through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation, which worked to expand access to technology through public libraries, and the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on improving global health. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of approximately US$27 billion.
(Shenzhen Daily November 2, 2004)