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November 29, 2011

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AIDS on increase in Shanghai

HEALTH experts warned yesterday that AIDS was on the increase in Shanghai with many more ordinary families affected by the disease, which was being mainly spread through sex.

Lu Hongzhou, an AIDS expert with the Shanghai Public Health Center, told a forum at Fudan University that in the first half of the year he received 50 to 70 more AIDS patients month by month, and during the second half he dealt with about 70 to 100 more cases each month than in the month before.

Most of the patients showed symptoms indicating the disease had reached an advanced stage, he said.

"The center has always needed extra beds for AIDS patients," he said. "Of course, some of the patients came from other provinces, but the migrant patients who are now living in Shanghai also increased."

The number of homosexual male patients had increased over the past five years from 12 in 2005 to 202 last year.

"We have seen the increase in AIDS being controlled in 2009 globally, but in China, it may still increase for a long time," he said. "Some experts have predicted that the country will need another eight, 10 or even 15 years to change the situation. However long it will take it's clear that the trend will last not for a short period."

Professor He Na, an epidemic disease expert with the School of Public Health of Fudan University, said the increase in AIDS in Shanghai was faster than in China as a whole. Up to the end of last year, the country had 380,000 AIDS patients, and this year there could be about 50,000 more, he said.

He said apart from traditional high risk groups, including sex workers, drug abusers, homosexual men and blood sellers, people need to be aware of women who are unknowingly spreading the AIDS virus.

He said this was especially the case in some remote areas in southwestern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, where women who came from neighboring countries to get married were spreading AIDS without being aware they had the virus.

Officials from the Shanghai Public Health Bureau said yesterday that official statistics on AIDS cases in Shanghai would be issued tomorrow.


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