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AIDS risk spreading to different demographics: physician

AIDS risk spreading to different demographics: physician

An expert in infectious diseases said Tuesday that anybody who has unprotected sex could be at risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), citing figures showing a higher percentage of heterosexuals contracting the disease over the past year.

On World AIDS Day on Tuesday, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Taiwan had recorded 2,134 new cases of HIV infection this year, with 85 percent resulting from sex among gay men, 10 percent coming through heterosexual sex and 3 percent resulting from drug injections.

The percentage attributed to sex between men was down from over 90 percent in recent years, said Hsieh Szu-min, an attending physician in the section of infectious diseases of National Taiwan University Hospital, and people of all ages were affected.

"There is no longer a so-called high risk group for HIV/AIDS." he said, "People can be infected as long as they have unprotected sex."

The new HIV/AIDS cases this year have come among people ranging in age from 14 to 91 years old, and spouses had contracted the disease from having sex with their husbands or wives, Hsieh said, urging people to avoid unprotected sex.

AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

According to the CDC figures released to coincide with World AIDS Day, a total of 30,840 people have been infected with HIV/AIDS in Taiwan since 1984, with 5,024 of them succumbing to the disease.

The figures also showed that among the HIV/AIDS cases recorded this year, the largest age group of the infected was the 25-34 age bracket (42 percent), followed by the 15-24 age bracket (28 percent).

The theme for World AIDS Day this year set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is "On the Fast-Track to End AIDS" in the hope of terminating AIDS by 2030 through different stages of control and prevention measures.

As part of its anti-AIDS efforts, the CDC affixed a gigantic red ribbon-shape illumination on the facade of its Taipei headquarters.

It will be turned on at 6 p.m. every day in December to call on people to take the AIDS issue seriously and care for people infected with the disease, according to the CDC.

Updated : 2021-09-24 00:09 GMT+08:00