Dongguan, a city in Guangdong Province, on Tuesday refuted rumors that there were more than 2,700 KTV waitresses infected with HIV/AIDS in the city.
It instead put the total figure at closer to 2,000, and admitted that the city is entering a high incidence period of HIV/AIDS.
The official website of the Dongguan health bureau published a statement to refute recent online rumors. One rumor said that in Houjie town alone, there were 1,600 AIDS patients. Another rumor said 633 local waitresses were infected.
The rumors may have come from a recent trial in a Dongguan court, the Guangzhou Daily reported.
On January 15, media reports said that the First People's Court of Dongguan revealed a case in which a woman knew she was an AIDS patient but still engaged in prostitution without wearing condoms.
The health bureau said similar rumors also appeared in Dalian, Beijing, Fuzhou and other cities.
According to the bureau, by December 31, 2013, the number of HIV/AIDS carriers had climbed to 2,032 since the city identified its first AIDS patient in 1991.
As part of this figure, from January to October last year, Dongguan reported that 583 people had become HIV positive, including 166 AIDS patients and 58 people who died, the newspaper reported.
Ten percent of the people who tested positive were locals, and the ratio of male to female was at four to one. Most of the carriers and patients were aged between 20 and 39.
Sex is the primary method of transmission in Dongguan, and homosexuals are at the highest risk with an infection rate of 17 percent.
A senior official from the Dongguan Center for Disease Control and Prevention said, "The number of HIV/AIDS patients reported in Dongguan has increased every year. The number reported from January to October increased 16 percent year on year. Dongguan is entering a high incidence period of HIV/AIDS."
According to the official, the increase was because of activities by the "high risk" segment of the population.
From 2004, Dongguan set up free clinics for HIV/AIDS enquiries. From January to October last year, only 810 people utilized these free services.
The city has established teams to offer free training, condoms and tests for high risk people, the health bureau said.