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HIV/AIDS prevention and control work must also include people over 60

China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-03 07:52

Red balloons are released ahead of World AIDS Day at the Emilio Ribas Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov 29, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Although the HIV/AIDS epidemic situation has been generally controlled, there is an increasing number of new HIV cases of being detected among senior citizens. China Daily writer Wang Yiqing comments:

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from January to October this year, 230 million HIV tests were administered nationwide, with 131,000 returning positive results. This means that at the end of October, there were 958,000 people known to be infected with HIV.

The statistics also show that the number of new HIV cases among those over the age of 60, particularly men, has increased from 8,391 in 2012 to 24,465 to 2018.

According to the Shanghai Health Committee's data, among 1,952 new HIV cases detected in the city from Jan 1 to Nov 20 this year, 224 were above the age of 60, an increase of 30.2 percent year-on-year, with men accounting for 84.3 percent of these. It seems that senior citizens are less aware of HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

With the other main channels of HIV infection including intravenous drug use and mother-to-fetus transmission effectively controlled in China, sexual transmission has become the main infection channel for HIV, especially among senior citizens.

Some senior citizens have high-risk sexual behavior. Moreover, quite a few senior citizens are not aware of how serious AIDS is and seldom voluntarily accept HIV testing, which makes the AIDS prevention and control work more difficult.

The key to prevent and control AIDS among the elderly is to raise their awareness of the virus and draw their attention to the importance of safe sex.

The theme of China's World AIDS Day campaign this year is "the community makes a difference" in AIDS prevention and control, which stresses the significance of social organizations, grassroots medical and health organizations as well as local resident communities in raising awareness of the disease.

Grassroots social organizations and communities should actively disseminate HIV/AIDS related knowledge to the elderly and provide HIV tests through basic health and medical treatment projects.

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