Number of Reported HIV/AIDS Cases in Shanghai Increases by 70%, Municipal Health Bureau Says; HIV/AIDS Discrimination in China Continues
The number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Shanghai, China, in the first 11 months of 2006 increased by 74% compared with the same period in 2005, the city's Municipal Public Health Bureau said on Wednesday, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet , 11/29). According to a city Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention official, as of Nov. 20, 621 new HIV/AIDS cases in 2006 have been reported in China's largest city. There are 2,216 HIV-positive people in Shanghai, 97 of whom have died from AIDS-related illnesses, the official said (Kurtenbach, AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/28). According to the health bureau, most of the new HIV/AIDS cases are among people ages 25 to 44, and more than 80% of them are among men. In addition, 499 of the new cases are among migrants from 23 mainland provinces and municipalities, as well as Taiwan, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet , 11/29). Most of the new cases were caused by injection drug use, and unprotected sex was the main transmission route for long-term Shanghai residents, the AP/Herald Tribune reports. According to Cai Wei, director of the health bureau, "AIDS is on the rise in Shanghai due to lack of knowledge about disease prevention and the rising migrant population." The city's public health bureau plans to increase the number of methadone treatment clinics from five to eight to help prevent HIV transmissions through dirty needles, according to the AP/Herald Tribune (AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/28). In related news, South China's Guangdong province reported an 8.4% increase in the number of new HIV cases and a 54.8% increase in the number of new AIDS cases in the first 10 months of 2006 compared with the same period last year, Xinhuanet reports. As of Oct. 31, the province had recorded 17,855 HIV-positive people, but experts estimate that the number could be as high as 40,000 (Xinhuanet , 11/29).
HIV-positive people in China continue to be discriminated against despite greater public awareness of the disease, according to a survey conducted by Beijing-based Capital View Research, Xinhua News Agency reports. According to the survey, 90.4% of the 956 respondents in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai said they know HIV can be passed from mother to child; 99.5% said they know it can be passed through contaminated needles, blood transfusions and unprotected sex; and 70% said they know HIV testing in China is available at no cost. The survey also found that 32.8% of the respondents said they would care for an HIV-positive person, 36% said they had no regard for people living with HIV/AIDS and 5% said they would actively discriminate against someone living with the disease. In addition, 30% said they had greater tolerance for HIV-positive people after being exposed to awareness campaigns. China in February issued its first regulations banning discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and required regional authorities to provide no-cost treatment and testing, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 11/29).