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Many AIDS deaths avoidable: Top specialist

China Daily | Updated: 2012-08-31 08:10

Eighty percent of AIDS deaths in China are due to late detection and treatment, and could have been avoided, a top specialist said.

In 2008, there were 14,590 patients who newly developed full-blown AIDS and more than 70 percent of them were first diagnosed with the disease, Wu Zunyou, director of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention, said.

In 2010, among the 34,188 AIDS patients reported, less than 50 percent had been previously reported as HIV carriers, official statistics showed.

"The problem of late detection has been recognized and addressed but remains a major challenge facing China's AIDS intervention and the efforts to reduce AIDS deaths," he said.

China has stepped up efforts to enhance HIV testing and conducted more than 80 million screenings last year.

Usually, it takes five to 10 years for HIV carriers to develop into full-blown AIDS patients, according to Zhao Yan, deputy director of the AIDS treatment and care division of the center.

Early detection can lead to early treatment, which could delay the onset of AIDS and substantially reduce related deaths, she added.

Early treatment also has preventive effects, and AIDS medications can lower a patient's risk of infecting another person with the disease, Wu said.

Compared with the rest of the world, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in China remains low, Wu said.

"The disease is still on the rise nationwide," he said.

-Shan Juan

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