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HIV rises sharply among Chinese 50 and older (2)

By Shan Juan  (China Daily)

08:36, August 23, 2012

A growing number of rural women left behind by husbands who sought employment in cities entered the sex trade, targeting mainly older men in rural areas, he said.

"That's a key reason for quickly rising HIV prevalence among local senior men," he added.

A high HIV infection rate — up to 10 percent — among local inexpensive street prostitutes whom the older men usually visit is part of the reason for the high prevalence among the seniors in Guangxi, Wu Zunyou added.

Wu said it is estimated that about 1 percent of such prostitutes on the mainland are HIV positive.

Zhao Yan, deputy director of the AIDS treatment and care division at the center, conceded that it is hard to reach the rural groups for intervention.

Also, they have less fear about being infected given that they are already old and that it takes a long time, usually 5 to 10 years, to develop full-blown AIDS and show symptoms, Wu noted.

So far, most of the older people with HIV were diagnosed at hospitals while seeking treatment for other diseases, he said.

To find as many senior carriers as possible, Wu called for more involvement of hospitals into HIV/AIDS intervention efforts, including testing and treatment service that are currently carried out by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and its local branches.

Wu said a pilot project co-held by the center, the No 1 Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang, Liaoning province, and the US-based pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories was recently launched to further enhance HIV/AIDS care and treatment access among those infected.

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