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AIDS in China is spreading outside of high-risk groups such as prostitutes, drug users and homosexuals. According to a senior health official, the disease is being transmitted in China in similar ways as it is spread in Africa, which has the highest number of HIV-infected in the world.
Hao Yang, the deputy director general of the bureau of diseases prevention and control at China’s Ministry of Health, said, “We’re now like Africa.
Last year, we found that 48 percent of those who were newly infected contracted the disease from sex, so it’s not a disease that afflicts only high-risk groups.” Mr. Yang continued, “There are 190 new infections every day,” and in some high-prevalence areas “nearly one percent of pregnant women are infected.”
Many in China living with the virus are taking drugs to prolong life. Yet the treatment is proving ineffective due to people’s ignorance of the strict regimen. One AIDS activist said, “So many patients are just taking the drugs haphazardly.” When treatment is not done correctly the virus can mutate and develop a resistance to the drugs.
China is acting fast to curb the spread of the virus and has already spent $20 million on treatment methods. The country now requires all entertainment spots to make condoms available, has increased the number of methadone clinics to help drug addicts beat the habit, and just opened the first ever homosexual health clinic. The nation is currently negotiating prices with two leading drug companies, Abbott and Gilead Sciences Inc. to provide drug treatment for its citizens.
UNAIDS has cautioned that if more is not done to prevent the spread of the disease, roughly 10 million people in China could become affected by AIDS in less than 5 years.
Source: Reuters; MedIndia.com