China’s health authority reported 104,000 new HIV/AIDS infections in the country in 2014, marking a 14.8 percent increase from the year before, Xinhua reports.
Wang Guoqiang, vice head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said in the report that overall rates of infection and number of HIV/AIDS cases have stayed at a low level. China last year provided anti-viral treatment for some 85,000 HIV/AIDS patients last year, up 21.2 percent compared with 2013.
Sexual transmission has remained the main mode of infection, but infections among elderly people and young students in China are on the rise, the official said.
Global health experts have urged China to step up its fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, starting with better sex education in schools across the country. The elimination of stigmas against HIV/AIDs patients is also crucial, the World Health Organization’s China representative Bernhard Schwartlaender said in a China Daily piece last year (via WSJ).
“Perhaps most importantly, we must eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV, and at-risk populations such as men who have sex with men, sex workers and injecting drug users,” said Schwartlaender.
A case of discrimination against an eight-year-old Sichuan boy infected with HIV made headlines last month when over 200 residents signed a petition demanding that he be banished from their village and treated in isolation.