xin_1221106300859453184186China: Gay men having condomless sex and not knowing their status remains one of the biggest challenge in curbing the spread of HIV/Aids in China, say health experts.

Statistics show that 21.4 percent of all newly reported HIV/AIDS patients in China in 2013 were infected through same-sex relations, compared with 2.5 percent in 2006.

“Homosexual men often don’t use condoms when performing sex acts, though we have been advocating this,” Wu Zunyou, director of the HIV/AIDS division of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told china.org.cn / chinagate.cn.

Bernhard Schwartlander from the World Health Organization confirmed in July the high infection rate among men who have sex with men in China. “The HIV infection rates amongst MSM in China tripled from 2 percent in 2007 to about 7 percent today, and are as high as 20 percent in some cities.”

More than 93 percent of newly discovered cases so far this year in Beijing were infections through sex, and more than 72 percent of those involved men having sex with men, according to statistics issued by the city’s Health and Family Planning Commission.

The proportion of newly discovered HIV cases in Beijing involving men having sex with men increased sharply, from 22.8 percent in 2006 to 72.7 percent by the end of June this year, the commission said.

Sun Jiangping, deputy director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, added that the “rising infection rate because of MSM is not just a serious matter in China, but also an international difficulty.”

“In my opinion, the most difficult problem in China’s AIDS prevention is that only 50 percent of infected people knew about their condition,” said Han Mengjie, from the National AIDS Affairs Office. “Even if all the patients who knew about their condition started to receive treatment, the other half who are unaware of their HIV-positive status don’t have any treatment.”

China, which has a population of over 1.3 billion, has an estimated 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. A total of 436,800 people were confirmed living with HIV or AIDS by the end of 2013, while 136,300 had died from the disease, according to the statistics from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Statistics show that the worst afflicted regions are Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

This year marks as 10th anniversary for China’s AIDS program with policies such as free HIV tests and  free treatment for rural and poor urban and government departments at all levels were asked to include AIDS patients on the list of people who can receive government aid, said Wu Zunyou.

A UNAIDS indicated that 35 million people were living with AIDS/HIV by the end of 2013.

Source: china.org.cn / chinagate.cn

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