BEIJING – China diagnosed 104,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS in 2014, media reported on Friday, highlighting growth in infections in the country despite a comparatively low overall rate.
The figure was a 14 per cent increase on the number of new cases diagnosed in 2013, the Beijing Times cited the country's health administration as saying.
Chinese state-run media said last month that half a million people – less than 0.04 per cent of China's total population – were living with the disease or the virus, although hundreds of thousands more are thought to be undiagnosed.
Discrimination against those with the virus remains an issue at schools, hospitals, workplaces and other establishments across China, a factor that experts say hampers efforts to diagnose and treat it.
The United Nations' anti-AIDS body does not carry 2013 statistics for China on its website, but said in a 2012 report that HIV/AIDs prevalence remains "low" in the country compared to global averages. It added that 39,000 cases were diagnosed in 2011.
China's National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention last year estimated that as many as 810,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country, including those who have not yet been diagnosed, out of a total population of 1.36 billion.
That is a far lower proportion than India, where UNAIDS says there are more two million people living with HIV, in a slighter smaller total population.
Chinese officials have said that growth rates are particularly high among gay men and male sex workers, who are marginalised and stigmatised by mainstream society. — AFP