New HIV/AIDS Cases in Japan Reach Record High in 2006, Government Report Says
The number of people newly diagnosed with HIV and those who developed AIDS in Japan in 2006 reached record highs of 914 and 390, respectively, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Japanese AIDS Surveillance Committee, the Kyodo/Yahoo! Asia News reports (Kyodo/Yahoo! Asia News, 2/7). According to the committee's report, the most significant increase in new HIV cases occurred among men who have sex with men, and 15 times more men than women reported a new HIV-positive diagnosis in 2006 (AFP/Nation, 2/8). In addition, an increasing number of people ages 30 and older became HIV-positive in 2006 compared with 2005, the report found. It also shows a nearly 10% increase in new HIV cases from 2005 to 2006 and a 6.3% increase for those who developed AIDS during the same time period, the AP/Forbes reports (AP/Forbes, 2/7). Revised data from 2005 indicate that 832 new HIV cases and 385 AIDS cases were reported that year (Kyodo/ Yahoo! Asia News, 2/7). In addition, the report found that the number of people in Japan receiving no-cost HIV tests increased by 16.2% in 2006, suggesting that HIV/AIDS awareness in the country is increasing, according to AFP/Nation (AFP/Nation, 2/8). "While the number of people getting checks is growing, we believe infections themselves are on the increase," Aikichi Iwamoto, committee chair and a professor at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science, said, adding, "Given most were infected through sexual contacts, we hope people will understand that HIV is increasingly common, take preventive measures and get examined early if they are worried about anything." This was the third consecutive year that HIV/AIDS cases in Japan totaled more than 1,000 and reached record highs, the Kyodo/Yahoo! Asia News reports (Kyodo/Yahoo! Asia News, 2/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.