Taiwanese Government Plans To Double Funding Next Year for HIV/AIDS Awareness Programs
The Taiwanese government in 2007 plans to double funding for HIV/AIDS awareness programs in the country, Yang Shih-yang, director of AIDS and tuberculosis prevention at Taiwan's Center for Disease Control, said recently Bloomberg News reports. According to Yang, the decision to increase funding for HIV/AIDS awareness is the result of the rising number of HIV cases recorded among injection drug users in the country. Yang said that HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns next year will receive $8.5 million in governmental funding, compared with $4.3 million last year. The Taiwanese government last year recorded 3,403 new HIV cases -- a 124% increase over previous years -- which was driven primarily by injection drug use, according to Bloomberg. "The fundamental problem is health education," Yang said on Friday at a briefing with the Taipei Foreign Correspondents' Club, adding, "We need to spend more on prevention." Data recorded in the first 10 months of this year by Taiwan's CDC indicate that 60% of 2,499 new HIV cases occurred among IDUs. According to Teresa Hsieh, executive director of the HIV/AIDS support group Lourdes Association, the Taiwanese government has not provided adequate HIV/AIDS education for IDUs in the country and instead has focused on sexual HIV transmission. She added that discrimination, including from health care workers, has prevented many HIV-positive people from seeking treatment. Arthur Chen, director of the AIDS prevention and research center at National Yang Ming University, said surveys conducted among Taiwan's prison population and drug users in the country indicate that the total number of HIV-positive people in Taiwan could be as high as 30,000 -- almost three times the official number. According to Yang, Taiwan could see a decrease in new HIV cases in 2006 for the first time in more than 20 years (Culpan, Bloomberg News, 11/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.