China's HIV, AIDS Infections, Transmission On The Rise

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China's Health Minister said today that HIV and AIDS transmission cases are on the rise in that country, estimating 700,000 infections by the end of 2007.

Chen Zhu gave the numbers at a health conference in Beijing, statistics from reports compiled by Beijing, the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Chinese health officials say infections have started to spread from "high risk groups" such as sex workers and drug users into the general public, reports Reuters.

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Of the new HIV transmissions roughly 45 percent will be infected through heterosexual contact and 42 percent from intravenous drug use. Only 12 percent are estimated to contact HIV through same sex contact.

The estimations are a jump from the end of 2006 when the China reported 650,000 infections. Of those infected in this years report, 85,000 are said to have AIDS.

Health officials say many in the country who were HIV positive developed AIDS by failing to come forward and seek treatment.

"People who feel stigmatized will not come forward or dare to seek medical treatment, and guidance, and by doing so put further fuel on the fire for the spread of HIV," UNAIDS China Country Director Bernhard Schwartlander told Reuters.

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