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20% Chinese not aware of AIDS

19.9% of Chinese people say they have never heard of AIDS or HIV and only 4.7% has ever had an HIV test, according to a recent survey.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2003 15:28 IST

Despite nearly one million Chinese becoming HIV-positive, some 19.9 per cent of people in the country say they have never heard of AIDS or HIV and only 4.7 per cent has ever had an HIV test, according to a recent survey.

The survey results released ahead of World AIDS Day on Monday, showed that 96.2 per cent of city residents surveyed and 82.6 per cent surveyed in towns had heard of AIDS and HIV while the rate was only 75.1 per cent in rural areas.

However, only 13.4 per cent of the surveyed knew all three routes of HIV infection, that is, blood, sex and mother to child transmission, and in rural areas the percentage reduced to 7.1 per cent.

The survey, done by Horizon Market Research from August to September this year covered 3,968 people sampled from six cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, seven towns and eight rural areas in six provinces like North China's Hebei, east China's Fujian and southwest China's Sichuan.

It showed that just 21.4 per cent of the surveyed knew HIV can be transmitted through sex, compared with 73.3 per cent who were aware that HIV can be transmitted through sharing needles.

According to the Ministry of Health, China now has about 840,000 HIV-positive population and 80,000 AIDS patients. Most of them are infected through sharing needles, infected blood or sexual transmission.

The survey showed some 78 per cent of the surveyed felt safe and at low risk of catching HIV. Only 0.9 per cent said they were exposed to the virus.

First Published: Dec 01, 2003 15:27 IST