HIV in China Spreading Beyond High-Risk Groups, Health Official Says
HIV in China has spread beyond high-risk groups -- such as injection drug users, commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men -- a senior health official said recently, Reuters reports (Lyn, Reuters, 10/17). The Chinese government estimates that there are 650,000 HIV-positive people in the country, 75,000 of whom have developed AIDS. According to the government, in 2005 there were 70,000 new HIV cases and 25,000 AIDS-related deaths. The country's current HIV/AIDS prevalence is approximately 0.05%, according to government statistics (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/5). "We're now like Africa," Hao Yang, deputy director of disease control for the Ministry of Health, said, adding, "Last year, we found that 48% of those who were newly infected contracted the disease from sex, so it's not a disease that afflicts only high-risk groups." To combat the spread of HIV, the Chinese government has made it mandatory for all entertainment venues to provide condoms, and methadone clinics have been established throughout the country, Reuters reports. In addition, Chinese officials have been in talks with Abbott Laboratories and Gilead to negotiate a plan to provide second-line antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people who have built up resistance to first-line antiretrovirals, according to Hao. "We have to prepare for this," Hao said, adding, "In a short time, we will sign some accords with these companies to bring in these drugs" (Reuters, 10/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.