Nearly 500,000 people in China living with HIV or Aids
BEIJING // The World Health Organisation has urged China to take action over Aids as government figures show that nearly half a million people are living with the disease or its precursor HIV, with hundreds of thousands more thought to be undiagnosed.
“There is much more China needs to do” to prevent infection and better help those living with HIV, Dr Bernhard Schwartländer, the WHO’s Chnina representative, wrote in an op-ed in the state-run China Daily newspaper on Monday.
“Perhaps most importantly, we must eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV, and at-risk populations such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, and injecting drug users,” he said.
“I’ve seen some of my own colleagues in the medical profession turn patients away because they disapproved of the person’s sexual orientation. That is simply unacceptable, and it has to stop.”
Dr Schwartländer’s comments came on World Aids Day, a day after the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission said that by the end of October, a total of 497,000 people in China had been diagnosed with HIV or Aids since the country’s first case in 1985.
The figure represents an increase from September 2013, when 434,000 people in China were known to be living with HIV or Aids.Another 154,000 have died from Aids-related conditions over the past 30 years, the Commission said.
China has a total population of 1.36 billion.
Sexual contact is the most common means of transmission in the country, accounting for more than 90 per cent of infections. This is followed by mother-to-baby transmission and drug needle sharing.
* Agence France-Presse
Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM