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China to have 1.2 million HIV-positive people by 2015

Updated: 2010-12-04 09:08

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

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Beijing - China will have about 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS by the end of 2015, according to a report scheduled for formal release in the first half of next year.

China has more than 740,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers on the mainland and sex has become the major means of transmission.

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"Given that reality, limiting new HIV infections in the next five years to no more than 500,000 is an arduous task and requires highly effective interventions," said Wang Ning, deputy director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention. "Because we can't prohibit the sufferers from having sex."

That's pretty hard for the general public, let along vulnerable groups like sex workers, who on average meet thousands of clients a year, he added.

Currently, despite a low prevalence nationwide, the epidemic is rising sharply among high-risk groups like gay men and sex workers, according to China's Action Plan to Prevent and Control HIV/AIDS (2011-2015).

The action plan said curbing the trend of transmission among those groups is crucial for the overall goal of AIDS control.

China to have 1.2 million HIV-positive people by 2015

A nurse collects a blood sample during a check for HIV infection at Nanmen Square in Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Dec 1, 2010, World AIDS Day. [Photo/Xinhua]

During the coming five years, more targeted intervention programs will be carried out among the group to increase their use of condoms to more than 90 percent, it said.

At present, unprotected sex is rampant and even among those covered by intervention programs only about 72 percent use protective measures like condoms.

Meanwhile, efforts to educate the general public should also be intensified, it said.

Comprehensive epidemic-related knowledge to help avert new infections and eliminate discrimination against infected people will reach at least 85 percent of the population aged between 15 and 60 by the year 2015.

"The anti-discrimination task is crucial for an effective AIDS response as few will go for screening and medication for fear of being stigmatized, thus increasing the risk of infecting others," said Qiu Renzong, a bioethics researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

About 70,000 of the 130,000 full-blown AIDS patients are receiving antiretroviral treatment provided free by the government, according to the Ministry of Health.

By 2015, more than 80 percent of those in need will be receiving the treatment, said the action plan.

To better deliver consulting and medication, health authorities will try to detect as many of the infected as possible, it said.

After that, HIV screening will be expanded to grassroots medical institutions where the technology for quick tests will be adopted, it said.


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