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HIV/AIDS cases jump 41% in SZ
Latest Updated by 2006-11-30 14:53:36
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Shenzhen reported 573 HIV/AIDS cases by Tuesday this year, a 41.1 percent rise on the 1,394 cases the city had recorded at the end of last year since the first AIDS patient was reported in 1992.

For year-on-year comparison, the number of HIV/AIDS cases for the first 10 months of this year, 530, represented a 38 percent rise from the same period last year.

The city's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned yesterday that the virus seemed to be spreading from high-risk groups to the general public, with cases spotted in all age groups and pregnant women.

Of the 573 HIV cases confirmed so far this year, 79 have developed into AIDS. However, the big jump in new HIV cases may be a result of strengthened monitoring efforts, said Feng Tiejian in charge of the CDC’s anti-AIDS department.

"Only about 0.12 percent of people tested for HIV so far this year were confirmed with the infection, similar to last year's figure," Feng said. More than half of the people with HIV confirmed this year, 55.9 percent of the total, were infected through sharing syringes with other drug addicts, followed by 31.5 percent through sex, 5.9 percent by blood transfusion, and 0.6 percent by mother-to-child transmission.

More than 60 percent of the HIV cases this year occurred in two districts, Bao'an and Longgang, home to a large migrant population and two prisons.

"The city started a practice, following a State order, to test all inmates for HIV from this year. As many inmates are drug users, there tends to be a higher proportion of HIV infection among this group," Feng explained.

MSM (men who have sex with men) comprise another group with high HIV infection due to their high-risk sexual behavior.

A rise in the number of pregnant women confirmed with HIV is a dangerous signal that the virus is spreading, the doctor said. A total of 33 women were found with HIV during prenatal checkups this year, up from 21 cases last year.

"To curb mother-to-child transmission, Shenzhen became the first city in the country to offer free HIV tests to pregnant women in 2002. Timely intervention can reduce the possibility of babies' infection from between 20 and 50 percent to less than 2 percent," Feng said.

Shenzhen set up 13 VCT (Voluntary Counseling & Testing) stations citywide this year offering free HIV tests to the public. The CDC also launched a program last week to train volunteers who teach MSM groups about AIDS prevention at entertainment venues.

A large-scale HIV/AIDS consultation event is arranged for Friday in Dongmen.

Editor: Donald

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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