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Unprotected sex leads to rise in AIDS cases

THE majority of new HIV carriers and AIDS patients in Shanghai are men aged between 25 and 44, city health officials said yesterday.

About 82 percent of this year's newly-confirmed HIV carriers became infected through unprotected sex and half of them were homosexuals, the Shanghai Public Health Bureau said.

The percentage of HIV carriers infected through intravenous drug injection decreased by nearly 20 percent from last year.

"In some areas of the country, unclean blood donations and drug injections are the main spread means, but Shanghai is different," said Wu Fan, director of the Shanghai Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

"Since the city found the first AIDS case in 1987, sex has always been the main spread means. And in recent years, as we encourage people to go for HIV virus inspection voluntarily, more cases have been revealed."

The city has 74 HIV test sites, and anyone who suspects he or she may be affected can be tested there free.

The sites have become one of the most significant means to identify new HIV carriers. From January to October, they received more than 25,920 people, of whom 302 were found to be HIV carriers, up about 21 percent from last year, the health bureau said.

Local hospitals also treated six pregnant women to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission, and no newborns were found infected with HIV this year, bureau officials said.

"For women carriers who don't want stop pregnancy, we'll give them medicines to prevent them passing HIV onto their babies," said Xu Jianguang, director of the bureau. "And up to now, we found that the effect is impressive."

Shanghai registered 1,294 new HIV carriers, 509 AIDS patients and 64 AIDS-related deaths this year up to November 25. Of the new carriers, about 68 percent were from out of town, officials said.

In the country as a whole, there will be about 780,000 people infected with the AIDS virus by the end of the year, with most having contracted it through heterose! xual sex , according to the Xinhua news agency.

A report from the Ministry of Health and the United Nations estimates there will be about 48,000 new HIV infections in China this year. China currently has 346,000 registered HIV carriers and AIDS patients.

Experts say an increasing number of old people have become infected with HIV/AIDS through unsafe sexual intercourse in recent years.

Figures released by Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of HIV positive men in their 60s and above soared from 483 in 2005 to 3,031 in 2010. Men 60 and above with AIDS also skyrocketed from 237 to 2,546, Xinhua reported.



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