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HIV count rises 50 pct in past year
Updated: 2005-11-28 21:49

The number of confirmed HIV cases in China rose by more than half in the past year but poor monitoring and official obstruction still obscure the real scale of the AIDS epidemic, China's top AIDS official said on Monday.

The number of Chinese medically diagnosed with the HIV virus, which leads to AIDS, had grown to 135,630 by end-September, Wang Longde, director of the State Council AIDS Prevention and Treatment Work Committee, told Chinese health officials.

At the end of September last year, China had recorded 89,067 HIV cases.

Health experts say that China's vast size and dilapidated health system mean that only about 15 percent of HIV-positive people are officially diagnosed with the virus, and even fewer receive medical treatment for full-blown AIDS.

Last year, China estimated that by the end of 2003 it had 840,000 citizens infected with the HIV virus. The World Health Organization has given a lower estimate of about 650,000 cases. Some international groups and Chinese AIDS activists put the figure in the millions.

Wang said on Monday that as HIV spread through sexual contact, especially prostitution, through intravenous drug use and from mothers to babies, the virus was more likely to spread throughout the larger population and the number of actual cases of infection was likely to grow.

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