Alarming Rise in AIDS-Infected Foreigners in China

By Matthew Bossons, December 11, 2015

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Over 1,800 cases of HIV/AIDS involving foreigners were diagnosed in mainland China between January and October of this year, according to reports.

To put in perspective just how large this number is, consider that figures released last July noted 1,500 cases over the previous three years, according to China Daily.

The rise in HIV/AIDS amongst foreigners is being attributed to increased international exchanges, according to a Chinese specialist who spoke with China Daily.

Sadly for infected expats, the government’s anti-AIDS campaigns, in particular the free antiviral medication and follow-up monitoring, will only focus on Chinese citizens due to funding restraints, according to Wu Zunyou, the head of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the epidemic surveillance system began operation in 2005, at least 9,000 expats have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, although the center does not know if these individuals are still within the Middle Kingdom’s borders, according to the report.

Most of the foreigners are allegedly between the ages of 20 and 45 and live in Guangdong, Fujian and Yunnan Provinces, as well as Beijing. At least half of the cases were the result of heterosexual behaviors, with intravenous drug use the second leading cause, according to China Daily.

HIV/AIDS infected foreigners are required to pay for their own treatment, with some exceptions in Yunnan (the province with half the total infected expats), Zhao Yan, a treatment specialist at the national center, told China Daily.

It has been previously claimed that infected foreigners in Yunnan generally hail from Myanmar and Vietnam and are often brought into the country through the practice of bride purchasing. These expatriates are provided free testing and antiviral medicine. 

READ MORE: Shocking Increase in Teenage AIDS Cases in Guangzhou

[Image via the China Free Press/Global Times]

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