Gay men HIV cases quintuple in Shanghai
Updated: 2009-06-20 10:15

Incidence of HIV/AIDS cases involving men who have sex with men has risen fivefold in Shanghai over recent years, medical experts report.

They made the comments at a science forum in Beijing on Thursday designed to raise public awareness of the disease.

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Shanghai, the largest metropolis in eastern China, is now carrying out an intervention and education campaign to combat HIV transmission through unsafe sex, they were quoted as saying by Friday's Shanghai Daily. Health authorities are researching the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among gays, bisexuals and female sex workers.

The Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention began surveying gay males in 2005 to find out more about their sexual behavior and to discover their HIV/AIDS or syphilis infection rate.

The incidence of syphilis from 2005 to 2007 remained around 12 to 13 percent, while HIV/AIDS increased every year. The incidence rate was 1.5 percent in 2005, 4.1 percent in 2006 and 7.5 percent in 2007, according to the survey. Data from 2008 is not yet available. According to the survey, more than 60 percent of the respondents had more than one male sexual partner.

"The increase in HIV/AIDS cases involving male-to-male sex is a challenge for almost all Asian countries," said Kang Laiyi, an AIDS expert at the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "Society is becoming more tolerant of gays and bisexuals, and intervention and education for this group should be intensified."

The local CDC has a 1,000-member team working with people such as drug users and sex trade workers who practice high-risk behavior.

More than 276,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported in China, with more than 45,000 new cases last year. Experts estimate about 700,000 people are infected with HIV in China, including 85,000 AIDS patients.

Shanghai has reported 3,947 HIV/AIDS cases.