Six people infected with HIV each day: CDC

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Every day this year, six people on average are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced yesterday. Deputy CDC Director Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that 1,360 people were reported to be infected with HIV from this January through July, which is an increase of about 8 percent compared to the same period last year.

“On average,” Chuang said, “there were six people infected with HIV daily this year, which suggests that the number of people being infected with HIV has increased fast.”

“Among all the 1,360 people who are confirmed to be infected with HIV, 1,206 people contracted it through unprotected sex.

“The statistics show that if condoms or lubricants are not used properly, the risk of being infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases will increase,” Chuang said.

“There are more and more young people contracting HIV every year, and this suggests that more young people are at risk of becoming HIV positive. “If the number of people being infected with HIV continues to increase, this year’s number of new cases might break last year’s record and become the year with the third highest number of newly diagnosed HIV positive cases.”

Wang Chun-chuan of the Ministry of Education said that most people between the ages of 15 and 24 are students, and based on the CDC statistics, about 25 percent of people who tested positive for the virus fall within that age range.

“In order to promote appropriate sex education,” Wang said, “the ministry will fully support the launch of sex education and AIDS-prevention outreach from within elementary schools to colleges starting this September.”

“There will also be AIDS-prevention teachers assigned to all colleges as well as anonymous AIDS testing set up on campus to better protect students from being at risk of being infected,” said Wang.

According to the CDC, around 82.9 percent of those infected with HIV this year are from the major cities, and 23.6 percent of them are from New Taipei City, followed by Taipei City’s 17.5 percent.

The CDC said that the number of people newly reported to be infected with HIV increased by 23.3 percent, which is the highest increase among all the cities and counties in Taiwan.