Number of foreigners in China diagnosed HIV positive triples
There has been an increase in the number of HIV cases involving foreigners in China in the past eight years, with the number rising from 660 in 2010 to 2,154 in 2017, a senior health official said Friday.
Among them, the number of cases involving foreign students rose from 13 in 2010 to 100 in 2017, Han Mengjie, director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a press conference organized by the National Health Commission on Friday.
Most reported HIV cases involving foreigners in 2017 were connected to drug use, sex workers and foreign spouses living in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province and South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Han said.
Referring to whether China’s removal of an entry ban for foreigners with HIV/AIDS since 2010 had led to the increase of HIV cases involving foreigners, Han said that lifting the ban is an international convention that was adopted by 143 countries and regions, but China will inevitably see more cases of foreigners living with HIV/AIDS with the deepened globalization and influx of more foreigners.
“The prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in foreigners requires cooperation from multiple government organs, and more importantly we need to improve their HIV awareness and urge them to have HIV tests,” Han said.
Nationwide, it is estimated that there would be 1.25 million people living with HIV/ AIDS by the end of 2018. China reports around 80,000 new cases of HIV infection each year. Seventy percent of people diagnosed with HIV in 2017 contracted the virus through heterosexual sex and 26 percent people contracted the virus through sex between males, according to the health commission.
“Chinese students have low awareness of HIV protection, with less than 40 percent of sexually active students using condoms,” Han said.
China reports around 3,000 HIV cases annually, and the number in 2017 was 3,077. Among them, 82 percent contracted the virus through same-sex transmission.
Han told the Global Times that 52 universities in 11 provinces and regions have set up anonymous HIV testing machines for students, where students provide a urine sample and the results are given later through a smartphone app.
To raise awareness of HIV among students, the National Health Commission and Ministry of Education have jointly established an on-campus HIV reporting system, as well as setting up online courses on HIV and health awareness.