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December 1, 2013

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HIV/AIDS cases fall in Shanghai, young at risk

Unprotected sex was blamed for nearly 96 percent of the new HIV/AIDS cases in Shanghai so far, while the transmission of the deadly virus among homosexuals accounted for over 60 percent, officials said.

Till November 20, Shanghai had registered 1,637 new HIV carriers, including 668 new AIDS patients this year, taking the number of people infected by the virus to 10,961, including 3,318 AIDS patients.

A total of 157 people have died of HIV/AIDS so far this year, raising the number of deaths due to AIDS to 729.

Nationwide, the share of young people around the age of 20 in all HIV infections in China almost doubled from 2008 to 2012, with male-to-male sex as the prominent contributing factor, a senior health official has said.

“Among all HIV cases reported across the country last year, 1.7 percent were Chinese youths aged between 15 and 24, up from the 0.9 percent in 2008, and the number of infected college students keeps rising,” said Shang Hong, director of the HIV/AIDS key lab under the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Shang added that 95 percent of the infected in the group were boys, and 70 percent of these infections were through male-to-male sex.

Speaking on the eve of World AIDS Day, officials from Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said that working with homosexuals was essential to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in Shanghai as the city expanded the coverage of screening and treatment of this group.

“Due to effective AIDS prevention and control measures in the city, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases has dropped from 18.2 percent in 2008 to this year’s 10.7 percent,” said Xu Jianguang, director of Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission. “The disease has a low prevalence in the city.”

Despite that, over 82 percent of the new cases were detected in hospitals or during consultation and voluntary testing at centers for disease control and prevention. Migrants made up for the majority of new HIV cases this year. The number of new AIDS patients and AIDS-related deaths among locals had dropped significantly.

Young and middle-aged men were the main carriers of the virus. Men accounted for over 90 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases this year, while those between the ages of 25 and 44 made up for 61.7 percent of the new cases.

Officials stressed the transmission of the HIV virus through unprotected sex was 95.7 percent this year, compared to 90.7 around the same time last year.

About 4.1 percent of the new cases were through intravenous drug injection.

“We are aware of the significant HIV cases among homosexuals, whose numbers are rising in the city,” said Wu Fan, director of Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The level of tolerance and culture force many homosexuals to live in cities.”

Currently there are 4,895 HIV carriers and AIDS patients under the care of the health authorities in Shanghai, accounting for 89 percent of the cases.


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