20,000 more AIDS deaths in one year

Updated: 2010-11-30 06:21
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BEIJING- China has reported more than 68,000 AIDS-related deaths as of the end of October, up nearly 20,000 year on year, according to official figures released Monday, two days ahead of World AIDS Day.

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According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, since the 1980s, when the disease first emerged in the country, the total registered AIDS patients and HIV carriers have surpassed 370,000, with more than 130,000 being AIDS patients.

However, a joint research by the ministry, the UNAIDS and the World Health Organization estimated the total at 740,000 as of the end of last year, including some 105,000 AIDS patients.

"In recent years, AIDS infections in the country has continued rising, though at a lower rate. With intensified education, consulting and tests, more carriers and patients have been detected and the death rate dropped considerably," the ministry said in its statement.

However, the ministry noted that the AIDS control situation in some regions was especially grave, citing six regions of Yunnan, Henan, Sichuan, Guangdong, Xinjiang and Guangxi which account for a disproportionate 77.1 percent of the country's total HIV/AIDS sufferers.

According to the statement, sex is the most prevalent method of AIDS transmission in the country, with male-to-male sex accounting for 8.6 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases in 2009, up from 5.9 percent in 2008.

Also on Monday, the State Council, China's cabinet, pledged to step up screening for HIV-AIDS while improving the public knowledge of the disease and working harder to protect those at risk of infection.

The government will expand its monitoring network to detect as many HIV-positive people as possible, a statement issued after a State Council executive meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, said.

While promoting speedy HIV-infection detection methods at the grass-roots level, the government will add more HIV-AIDS medications to basic medical insurance to ease the financial burden on HIV-AIDS sufferers, it said.

The ministry noted that the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in China will keep rising for a "certain amount of time."

China had 49,845 AIDS deaths as of October last year, according to the ministry.