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HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Youth in W China Lower Than Average
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Only 73.3 percent youth in west China have a proper understanding of HIV/AIDS, almost 23 percent lower than their peers in the rest of the country, according to a survey.

Many young people in the west know the HIV virus can be contracted through unprotected sex and blood transmission, said the survey, jointly published by China's Juvenile Research Center and the National Research Center for Science and Technology for Development.

However, more than 20 percent wrongly believe the disease could also be spread by sharing a room with AIDS patients.

"The misunderstanding proves that they have exaggerated the possibility of AIDS infection, and being quite afraid of the disease," said Deng Xiquan, doctor with the Juvenile Research Center.

There are 11 regions in west China. It is home to 364 million people, 28.6 percent of the country's total. West China lags behind other parts of the country in economic development, education, and health care due to natural and historical reasons, so the people are less aware of issues like HIV/AIDS.

However, the Ministry of Health said earlier this year that young people in the region are a key target in the awareness campaign on the prevention and control of the disease, as they are a high-risk group.

The survey also showed that young people in west China seem to know more about HIV/AIDS than adults, since the average level of HIV/AIDS awareness in west China stays at 58.1 percent.

China has an estimated 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, including 75,000 with full blown AIDS.

(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2007)

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