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HIV/AIDS Cases Soar in Beijing in First Half Year

The number of new HIV/AIDS cases reported in Beijing in the first half of the year was almost as high as the total for 2006, a spokesman for the Beijing Association of STD and AIDS Prevention and Control said Thursday.

Guan Baoying, deputy director of the association, said 563 new cases had been reported in the first six months, taking the total in the capital to more than 4,200.

The number of new HIV/Aids cases being reported in Beijing has been growing by an average of 50 percent a year, he said.

Of the 563 cases - screened from 770,000 HIV checkups - 432 (77 percent) were migrant workers, 120 (21 percent) were Beijingers, and the rest were foreigners, the Beijing News reported Thursday.

Since 1985, 164 foreigners have tested positive for HIV in Beijing, Guan said.

Drug use and unsafe sex were the two top causes of this year's new infections, and considerably more men than women tested positive, he said.

Guan warned of the dangers of having unsafe sex and said the widespread migration of people across the country was aiding the spread of the virus.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health said 18,543 new cases of HIV/AIDS were reported nationwide in the first half of the year, with drug users accounting for the majority.

Guan said there are an estimated 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China, although, as of July, only 214,300 have been officially registered.

(China Daily September 21, 2007)

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