Number of HIV Cases in South Korea Increasing, Report Says
The number of new HIV cases in South Korea increased by 10.4% in 2006, according to a report released Thursday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Korea Herald reports. According to the report, 751 new cases of HIV were reported in the country in 2006, 689 of which occurred among men and 62 among women. A total of 680 new cases were reported in 2005, according to the Herald (Hae-in, Korean Herald, 1/19). The report also found that 483 new HIV cases were transmitted through unsafe sexual practices -- 273 through heterosexual sex and 210 among men who have sex with men -- and one case was transmitted vertically (Chung-a, Korea Times, 1/19). "Considering that sexual intercourse was the most common form of transmission, it is important to use condoms and other protection," KCDC said, adding, "There is also a need to raise public awareness on the importance of taking voluntary HIV tests." According to the Herald, condom use in the country in 2006 was recorded at 25% (Korea Herald, 1/19).
Many middle school and high school students in Seoul, South Korea, lack sufficient knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and have negative views concerning the disease, according to a recent survey conducted by the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention, the Times reports. According to the survey, 64.9% of middle school and high school students said that HIV could be transmitted through mosquito bites; 59.2% said the virus could be transmitted through kissing; 57.5% said sharing water glasses can result in transmission; 54.7% said HIV can be transmitted through toilet seats; and 53.1% said gay relationships can result in transmission. According to the Times, negative views concerning HIV/AIDS also was prevalent, with 58.6% of students saying that HIV/AIDS is a "disgusting disease"; 52.1% said they would not sit next to an HIV-positive person; 43.2% said they would not eat meals with HIV-positive people; and 45.4% said that people living with HIV/AIDS should take full responsibility for the disease, the Times reports (Korea Times, 1/19).