HIV rises sharply among Chinese senior citizens

Many more male senior citizens on the Chinese mainland have been infected with HIV over recent years, and most of the cases were related to prostitution, the China Daily reported Thursday.

In 2005, 483 new HIV carriers aged 60 and older were diagnosed on the mainland, accounting for 2.2 percent of the total that year, while the number surged to 3,031 in 2010, or nearly 9 percent of the total that year, the daily reported, citing figures from the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention.

The trend is regarded unique as it is so far only detected on the Chinese mainland, the center’s director Wu Zunyou was quoted as saying.

He said the new trend was related to many factors, including a longer sexually active period of Chinese men, lack of sexual protection and better economic conditions.

“But more sociology research regarding this is needed to explain why this is unique in China and how to reverse the situation,” he said.

Targeted intervention measures have been taken to curb the rising HIV cases among senior residents, particularly in counties and rural areas where public awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention remains relatively poor, he said.

He added that it is estimated that about 1 percent of local inexpensive prostitutes on the mainland are HIV positive.

Xinhua