Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HIV Infections in Japan Hit ‘Record High’ Last Year
Japan saw a "record high" number of new HIV infections last year, with nearly 40% of the new cases occurring among young people, AP/Yahoo! News reports. According to new statistics from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 621 new cases of HIV were reported last year in Japan, an increase of 34% over new cases reported in 2000. Of the new HIV infections reported among Japanese people last year, 40% occurred among teenagers and people in their 20s. Japanese AIDS experts said that the actual number of HIV-positive Japanese could be about five times higher than the reported figures. The Japanese Foundation for AIDS Prevention said that "[p]rejudice" against people with HIV/AIDS keeps many people from getting tested for the virus. Makoto Iwakura, a health ministry official, said that the increase in HIV infections among young people is caused by "lax condom use," and the foundation added that young people are adopting more "casual attitudes toward sex." To help curb the spread of HIV in the country, the health ministry recently began airing anti-AIDS television commercials. The commercials, which bear the slogan "Stop AIDS," feature national soccer team goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki, who became popular during the 2002 World Cup games (Mizoguchi, AP/Yahoo! News, 8/6).
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