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Number of AIDS Patients Increasing Swiftly in Guangdong

South China's Guangdong Province sees an astounding increase in the number of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency Syndrome) patients, according to the provincial health administration.
The latest statistics provided by the provincial health administration show that Guangdong reported 2,030 HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) carriers in the first 10 months of this year, including 91 AIDS patients. This brought the total number of HIV carriers to 7,044 by October 31 in the province, including 281AIDS patients. In terms of the patient number, Guangdong ranked fifth nationwide, said Huang Fei, deputy head of the administration.
However, experts estimated the real number of HIV carriers at about 40,000 in the province, much higher than the official figure.

Huang Fei said that the province's AIDS patient number for the Jan.-Oct. period was 91 cases, 139.5 percent higher than the year-earlier level of 38 cases. This was partly because those who infected the virus before 1998 have entered the pathogenic period,
Huang explained.
The HIV carriers and AIDS patients came from 21 cities in the province, and most of them are located on the Pearl River Delta, according to Huang Fei.
Huang said syringes shared by injecting drug users contributed significantly to AIDS spreading in the first 10 months of this year in Guangdong. Such drug users claimed 90.6 percent of the province's total HIV carriers. Of the total infections, 8.4 percent occurred in sexual intercourses, up from the 5.4 percent in 2001. Meanwhile, there were two cases of HIV transmissions through pregnancy and childbirth in the 10-month period.
Tang Xiaoping, head of AIDS control team of Guangdong, said that some problems hindering medical treatment for the killer disease. The problems included poor awareness of having HIV tests voluntarily among AIDS patients, weak control over the patients, especially migrants, limited clinical experience for the pandemic and insufficiency of related medicines.
In terms of anti-drug funding, Guangdong earmarked eight million yuan (US$963,855) this year, adding to the 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) allocated specially for the purpose in 2002. The money was mainly to enhance anti-AIDS publicity, improve HIV test services and intensify control over blood and related products.
Official data as of 2003 showed that China had 840,000 HIV Carriers.

(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2004)

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