720,000 HIV/AIDS patients reported in China

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/27 23:08:40

Open sex attitude leads to rising AIDS cases in teenagers

A man waits for an HIV test. Photo: CFP

More than 720,000 people in China were HIV-positive or AIDS sufferers by the end of July as controlling the spread of the virus remains a challenge in China.

The country found 13,003 new HIV/AIDS cases in July, data from 2017 National Conference on HIV/AIDS in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province have shown. Some 2,914 HIV-positive people contracted AIDS this month.

Cheng Feng, a professor at Tsinghua University's School of Medicine, said at the conference that only 60 percent of Chinese HIV/AIDS patients received medical treatment in 2016. 

Han Mengjie, an official of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said he believes another 20 to 30 percent of HIV/AIDS sufferers are either not aware of their condition or have not reported it, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Han said unprotected sex has become the primary means of transmission, with the virus spreading among the youth, elderly and homosexuals.

Among the new cases, 8,935 were contracted through heterosexual intercourse, or 68.7 percent of all cases, while 3,059 cases were transferred through homosexual contact.

Li Yan, director of the Guangdong provincial disease control center, said 90 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in Guangdong were contracted through intercourse, of which 30 percent were between males.

Li also warned that the proportion of teenagers living with HIV has been increasing sharply.

"The revelation of new HIV/AIDS cases does not necessarily mean that the country's HIV/AIDS situation is getting worse. It might be related to growing awareness of the AIDS virus and the increasing number of people who undergo free HIV screening," Wu Jiang, director of the project department of the AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth, an NGO established in 2006 which has supported over 25,000 HIV-affected households, told the Global Times.

Wu said that the rising number of cases in teenagers is related to their open attitude toward sex and the influence of Internet literature or movies, in which many exaggerate the pleasures of sex, even homosexual sex, without telling people how to protect themselves.  

According to a survey this year of 4,229 students at Beijing Normal University, 36.82 percent said they were open to a one-night stand, four percent higher than last year; and 10.45 percent of them engaged in a one-night stand, an increase of 1 percent from the previous year.

Some 26.09 percent said that they had two to three sex partners while 6.45 percent said they had 11 or more partners. Some 4.97 percent said they did not take protective measures and 74.2 percent said they did not receive sex education in school.  

"While the government requires schools to provide sex education, few implemented the policy. Making students aware of the problem without scaring them remains a big challenge," Wu said.

It was revealed at the conference that China spent 4.6 billion yuan ($694 million) on HIV/AIDS control and treatment in 2016.

Scientists are also seeking breakthroughs in treatment. Wang Fusheng, a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is leading research on immunocyte therapy. Unlike conventional treatments, Wang's team is studying immune deficiencies after CD4, a glycoprotein found on the surface of immune cells, is damaged.

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