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Beijing's New HIV Diagnoses Attributed to More Tests

A WHO official said yesterday that a significant increase in the number of new diagnoses of HIV in the capital could be explained by an increase in testing.

"If you test more, you will always report more," Wiwat R, HIV/AIDS team leader of the WHO's Beijing office, told China Daily yesterday, adding that raising people's awareness and requiring them to take preventive measures remain crucial.

Beijing detected 365 new HIV infections in the first seven months of this year, according to figures released by Beijing Municipal Health Bureau on Wednesday.

This included 275 Chinese migrants from outside Beijing, 65 Beijingers and 11 foreigners. The identities of the remaining 14 were unknown.

This was an increase of 53 percent in reported new HIV infections compared to the same period of 2004, and was accompanied by a year-on-year increase of 42 percent in new AIDS diagnoses.

By the end of July, Beijing had reported a total of 2,226 cases of HIV infection and 289 of AIDS.

Liang Wannian, deputy director of the bureau, said infections amongst migrant workers were mainly due to sharing injecting equipment, unprotected sex and transfusion of tainted blood.

Liang said the 119 foreigners in the city reported to be HIV positive were largely infected through unprotected sex.

Beijing has two centers with methadone schemes in its districts of Xuanwu and Chaoyang to reduce injecting amongst heroin users, and a third is due to open soon in Haidian District.

It has 1,881 automatic condom dispensers in hotels, nightclubs, construction sites, medical facilities and universities and colleges throughout 11 districts, and a free needle exchange at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Chaoyang that has collected around 1,600 contaminated syringes.

Beijing You'an and Ditan hospitals, designated to provide cash-strapped patients with free AIDS treatment, have admitted 50 patients, according to the bureau. Wu Hao, department director for infectious diseases at Beijing You'an, said yesterday that 50 others have benefited from the free medication.

(China Daily September 2, 2005)

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