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WHO warning as China says nearly 500,000 living with HIV
Bernhard Schwartlaender, the World Health Organization's representative in China, wrote in an op-ed in the state-run China Daily newspaper that "There is much more China needs to do" to prevent infection and better help those living with HIV. The op-ed was published on World AIDS Day, a day after the National Health and Family Planning Commission said that by the end of October, a total of 497,000 people in China had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS since the country's first case in 1985. The figure represents an increase from September 2013, when 434,000 people in China were known to be living with HIV/AIDS. China's National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention last year estimated that as many as 810,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country, including those who have not yet been diagnosed, out of a total population of 1.36 billion. More than a quarter of a million HIV-positive people are currently on antiretroviral treatment in China, UNAIDS China director Catherine Sozi wrote in a China Daily op-ed on Saturday. China "Needs to increasingly go beyond its initial success in the roll-out of large-scale HIV programmes and focus on how to reach people who are currently falling through the cracks," she wrote. Sexual contact is the most common means of transmission in China, followed by mother-to-baby transmission and drug needle sharing, the Family Planning Commission said. In the 1990s, rural parts of China - particularly the central province of Henan - were hit by the country's most debilitating AIDS epidemic.

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