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Guangxi Reports 20,604 HIV/AIDS Infections

South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region saw the number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS jump by more than 50 percent in 2005 despite a widespread public awareness campaign.


Last year, 8,625 new HIV/AIDS cases were reported, bringing the total number of people infected to 20,604 at the end of 2005.


The region ranks the third nationwide as only the southwestern province of Yunnan and the central province of Henan, having more people with HIV/AIDS, said a source at an annual regional meeting on AIDS prevention held on Thursday.


It also said that Guangxi reported 1,497 AIDS patients by 2005 and 103 of them died last year.


"The epidemic is spreading from the most at-risk population to the general population as infections through unprotected sex are on the rise," said Chen Jie, deputy director of the regional diseases control and prevention center. He said intravenous drugs users are still the most likely group to be infected.


Guangxi spent more than 38 million yuan (US$ 4.72 million) on AIDS prevention and control last year and nearly all its cities and counties have AIDS monitoring centers.


The Chinese Ministry of Health said in February this year that the country reported 144,089 HIV carriers by the end of 2005.


An appraisal jointly issued by the ministry, the World Health Organization and the United Nations AIDS Program estimated that there are 650,000 HIV carriers, including 75,000 AIDS patients in China.

(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2006)

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