1. Epidemic

    AIDS Rate Rises in China

    Hu Guo An, left, Rong Wen Xiang, center, and Pan Jirong, right, who were infected with AIDS due to unsanitary blood plasma buying schemes and tainted transfusions in hospitals in China, take part in a group meeting for people living with AIDS at a center for health education in Beijing, China Wednesday Nov. 22, 2006. China's Ministry of Health said Wednesday that reported cases of HIV/AIDS jumped 30 percent in 2006, compared to the year previous, with intravenous drug use the main source of infection. After years of denying that AIDS was a problem, Chinese leaders have dramatically shifted gears in recent years, confronting the disease head-on, promising anonymous testing, free treatment for the poor and a ban on discrimination against people with the virus. President Hu Jintao symbolized the new approach when he appeared on national television in late 2004 chatting and shaking hands with AIDS patients. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

    Elizabeth Dalziel / AP Photo

    China has acknowledged that it has a growing AIDS problem, with the number of officially registered HIV carriers and AIDS patients expected to jump from 346,000 to 780,000 by the end of 2011, according to state media. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of HIV-positive men 60 and older soared from 483 cases in 2005 to 3,031 in 2010. Infections among younger men rose as well. "The distribution of HIV/AIDS cases in our country is now wider and more scattered than ever, posing great difficulties for prevention and control efforts," said the director of the center. People with HIV/AIDS in China say they are often stigmatized, and in the 1990s the government attempted to cover it up when hundreds of thousands of farmers became infected through a blood-selling scheme.

    Read it at Reuters