China is facing four new challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS, though the nation has managed to roll back the rising trend of HIV infection, health minister Chen Zhu said on Saturday, World AIDS Day.
Greater difficulties in HIV prevention, increasing risks of transmission, growing demand for treatment funds, and inadequate capabilities among social organizations are pressing matters, Chen said during an activity to raise awareness about AIDS.
Sex is the main route of HIV transmission, and sex between men is on the rise as a major cause of new HIV/AIDS infections in China. The ways of transmission have become more concealed, which has brought greater difficulties for HIV prevention, Chen said.
It is estimated that nearly half of China's HIV carriers haven't yet been discovered, as many with high sexual risk behavior do not voluntarily seek HIV tests or are not willing to receive tests for fear of being discriminated against.
Chen warned that this large number of hidden HIV carriers leads to increasing risks of HIV transmission.
While more HIV/AIDS cases are reported year on year, the number of patients resistant to the usual drugs is increasing, he said. This has led to growing demand for various HIV/AIDS drugs and increased funding for treatment.
Efforts are also needed to improve the capabilities of social organizations and to enhance their participation in AIDS control measures, said Chen.
Under China's AIDS Action Plan for the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) published in February by the State Council, the country aims to decrease AIDS fatalities by 30 percent by 2015, and new cases by 25 percent as compared to 2010.
According to figures from the Ministry of Health, China had reported a total of 492,191 cases of HIV/AIDS by the end of October, including 68,802 new cases this year. Some 17,740 AIDS-related deaths were reported in the country from January to October, a year-on-year increase of 8.6 percent.
Peng Liyuan, a World Health Organization ambassador for the fight against AIDS and a publicity representative of China's health ministry for AIDS control, joined in Saturday's activities.