China's AIDS growth slows down: Health Ministry
China's AIDS growth has slowed down to 5.8 percent in 2009, lower than the previous year, according to China's Health Ministry, Xinhua reported.
Hao Yang, deputy director general of the Department of Disease Control and Prevention under the Health Ministry, said China had made great achievements in AIDS prevention and treatment since it signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration 10 years ago.
He made the remarks at a press conference held in New York during the UN high-level summit on Millennium Development Goals. The target of tackling AIDS in Millennium Development Goal is to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 and universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it by 2010.
According to the 2009 HIV estimation conducted by the Health Ministry, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, there are approximately 740,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in China, of whom 44.3 percent were infected by heterosexual transmission; 14.7 percent by homosexual transmission; 32.2 percent from intravenous drug use; 7.8 percent by former plasma/blood donation or blood transfusion/use of blood products; and 1 percent mother-to-child transmission.
By the end of December 2009, the total number of people nationwide who had received HIV antiretroviral treatment had increased from 42,576 in 2007 to 81,739 in 2009. There are currently 65,481 people receiving treatment.
China enhanced its policy framework on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. A new session of the State Council Working Committee to combat AIDS was held in 2008, which clarified department duties and key areas.
Also, the investment to HIV/AIDS prevention has increased in recent years. In 2007, the central government provided 940 million yuan in funding, increasing it to 1.07 billion yuan in 2008 and 1.22 billion yuan in 2009. Local governments have also boosted their funding.
"We are still facing challenges," Hao said, "The AIDS epidemic is becoming increasingly complex, with serious epidemics in some regions and among some populations, and it has not been possible to effectively bring new infections under control. At the same time, some people living with HIV have not yet been diagnosed."
According to the Health Ministry, about 400,000 people who infected with HIV may have not been diagnosed. "they are a potential threat of serious massive spread of the disease," Hao said.