The proportion of female HIV infectors on the Chinese mainland has increased by a factor of five, from just over 7 percent in 1998 to 35 percent in 2008, of whom 90 percent were of child-bearing age, the Tsinghua AIDS Conference announced on October 19, 2008.
The conclusion was based on results of 3.2 million blood samples analyzed by the Comprehensive AIDS Research Center of Tsinghua University and the Yunnan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The investigation showed that in Yunnan Province, HIV patients infected through using drugs decreased to 40 percent from 100 percent in 1989. However, those infected through sexual transmission rose to 37.5 percent.
Experts said that as well as drug addicts and blood sellers, more ordinary people became HIV infectors, which resulted in a sharp increase of infection. Taking Yunnan as an example, the infection rate rose slowly from 1989 to 2003, but it went up rapidly in 2004 with 13,486 new infectors, a number close to the total over the previous 16 years.
Professor Gui Xi'en from Wuhan University said that if a pregnant woman was infected with HIV during her delivery period, her baby ran a greater risk of infection. Among 106 babies in the investigation, 38 were infected, which indicated a rate of 36 percent. Babies who were not born infected ran a 9 to 16 percent risk of becoming infected in the future.
Professor He Dayi of Tsinghua University carried out a course of medical treatment in Yunnan. 250 HIV-infected pregnant women received the treatment and their spreading rate was reduced to only 1 to 2 percent, while those not treated transmitted the infection at a rate of 33 percent.
He announced that the Comprehensive AIDS Research Center of Tsinghua University and Yunnan Provincial Health Department will soon start a joint clinical research project with more experts participating. They will focus on preventing mother-to-baby HIV transmission by training local principals and doctors, and helping local hospitals and patients.
(China.org.cn by Zhou Jing, October 20, 2008)