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UPDATED: 13:13, November 10, 2004
AIDS/HIV patients should be notified to friends, relatives: expert
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People infected with AIDS/HIV should be notified to those closely related with them while keeping their illness shut from others, said a Chinese sexology expert in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.

Xu Tianmin, head of the Chinese sexology society and member of the AIDS control expert committee under the Ministry of Health, said friends, relatives and others that have close relations with the AIDS/HIV-infected should be warned of the deadly disease.

"But the infected status of these patients should be protected from leaking to others, especially by doctors and nurses," he said, emphasizing many patients are fearful of living a torturing life under others' questioning eyes.

How to protect the privacy of AIDS/HIV patients remains a controversial issue in China as AIDS is one of the most deadly infectious diseases without any cure.

By the end of the year's April, China had around 840,000 HIV-positive and 80,000 AIDS patients since it detected the first AIDS case in 1985 and about 160,000 such patients have died.

China is the world's 14th but Asia's second country facing the biggest risks posed by a rampant AIDS epidemic, with the number of HIV-infected rising by 40 percent a year.

Despite the Chinese government's efforts in helping the public know living with AIDS/HIV patients is normally safe, such patients are regarded as most dangerous in most parts of the country, some even calling for banishing the ill from their living quarters.

Source: Xinhua

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