Shanghai Aids cases skyrocket

Health officials say bulk of new cases tied to migrant workers and drug use.

    China has begun to increase spending on Aids awareness and education [Picture: GALLO/GETTY]
    Last year 370 cases were reported.
     
    "AIDS is on the rise in Shanghai due to lack of knowledge about disease prevention and the rising migrant population," the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily quoted Cai Wei, director of Shanghai's Public Health Bureau.
     
    Testing
     
    For years China’s communist government denied that the country had an Aids problem.
     
    More recently however the government has taken a more up-front and proactive approach, promising anonymous testing, free treatment for the poor and establishing a ban on discrimination against people with the virus.
     
    Now officials are encouraging the use of condoms among prostitutes working in Shanghai’s thriving sex industry, as well as taking measures to discourage sharing of contaminated needles.
     
    Analysts say the sharp rise in reported cases is partly attributable to more aggressive monitoring and testing of the disease.
     
    Despite stronger education efforts, HIV patients still face widespead discrimination.
     
    In a survey reported on Wednesday by the official Xinhua News Agency, fewer than half of the 956 respondents in China’s three largest cities said they would care for an HIV sufferer; 40 per cent said they had "absolutely no regard" for HIV patients.
     
    Last week, China said the number of reported HIV/Aids cases in the country as a whole jumped 30 per cent to 183,733 from January to October, compared to the same period last year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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