BEIJING (Reuters) - China had 20,711 HIV carriers at the end of
September, up 37 percent when compared to a year earlier, the
official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
Xinhua, quoting the health ministry, said the majority of
people who had tested positive to HIV, the virus that causes
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS web
, were in the 20-29 age group.
Intravenous drug users accounted for 72 percent of the cases,
while there were 5.2 male carriers for every female who had
tested positive, it said. The figures were at odds with
estimates made by Chinese experts in state media who have said
there were around 500,000 HIV positive people in the country.
The United Nations has predicted that HIV,
if left unchecked, will have infected around 10 million Chinese
Health officials have been discussing measures to curb the
spread of HIV and are considering distributing condoms and
giving sex education to prostitutes and their customers.
They are also considering laws to punish people who
intentionally infect others with HIV.
China has set up 600 prevention and treatment centres that
concentrate on "entertainment girls", patients with sexually
transmitted disease and drug users, Xinhua said.
Conservative attitudes towards sex in China are proving
A Shenzhen company's campaign to hand out free condoms at
Beijing universities and colleges on World AIDS Day last year
met with frowns of disapproval from students.
China also banned its first national condom advertisement last
year, because promoting sex products conflicted with China's
social conventions and morals, state media said.