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N.China Region Reports Surge in HIV Carriers

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, reported 16,035 HIV carriers at the end of June, a rise of 4,732 in just nine months, according to the local disease control center.

The region reported 11,303 HIV carriers at the end of September last year, according to the regional center.

The new cases were found in 15 prefectures and cities, including the regional capital, Urumqi.

In June, Xinjiang had 563 reported AIDS cases, including 105 deaths. The region reported 213 AIDS patients from the beginning of 2001 to June last year, including 54 deaths.

Hao Yang, deputy head of the diseases prevention and control bureau of the Ministry of Health, said HIV infection was severe in Xinjiang, calling on local governments and medical departments to make concerted efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

Hao said AIDS was spreading from high-risk groups such as prostitutes to ordinary groups, including pregnant women, most of who were infected by their husbands who contracted HIV through drug use.

Clinical monitoring showed the incidence of HIV infection among women lying-in had been up to one percent in Xinjiang's Yili area, but normally stood at 0.3 percent, said Ni Mingjian, head of the regional Venereal Disease and HIV/AIDS Department of the Diseases Control Center.

The central and local governments have run AIDS education campaigns and HIV/AIDS treatment programs, and provided assistance to HIV carriers in attempts to curb the spread of the disease.

China had 144,089 reported HIV carriers by the end of last year, including 32,886 AIDS patients and 8,404 fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health.

(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2006)

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