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HIV/AIDS victims getting younger

2012/07/22 21:54:13

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) More and more young people are being infected with HIV/AIDS, with male patients accounting for a majority of the newly infected and a 13-year-old setting the record for the youngest age, government statistics show.

The Department of Health advised young people to avoid unprotected anal sex -- the main cause for new infections.

Yang Shih-yang, a division chief of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said Sunday that some youngsters have been duped into having unprotected sex, and some "evil" adult homosexuals have purposely induced them to have unsafe sex.

CDC tallies show that as of the end of June, 2012, there were 4,376 HIV/AIDS patients aged between 15 and 24 in Taiwan. Of the total, a whopping 85 percent -- or 3,711 -- acquired the disease through unsafe sex.

CDC records indicate that two years ago, a 13-year-old boy was induced by his employer, who was over 50 years of age, into having unprotected anal sex. As a result, the boy got the contagious disease.

Male HIV/AIDS patients who did not show any disease symptoms used to be identified when they received medical check-ups before being drafted into military service -- with 200 to 300 such cases per year, according CDC statistics.

Now HIV/AIDS patients are identified only after they have been found to have been hit by such sexually transmitted diseases as gonorrhea and syphilis, CDC said.

Yang said as the government is trying to change the drafting system into voluntary service system and the age of HIV/AIDS contagion is being lowered, a campaign is being launched to warn the gay community against having unprotected sex.

The government has offered an HIV/AIDS-fighting hotline -- 1922 -- to help people who would like to remain anonymous to confirm whether they have fallen victim to the disease.

(By Chen Ching-fang and S.C. Chang)