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Japan's HIV cases

thomas

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Japan's HIV cases rose in last 3 months of 2002

A total of 5,121 people in Japan had tested positive for HIV (news - web sites) through December, an increase of 139 from three months earlier, Japan's health authorities said Friday.

Most of the new cases, or 77, were transmitted via homosexual contact, said Makoto Iwakura, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. An additional 45 people contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through heterosexual contact.

There were no reported cases of transmission through infected needles in Japan, where drug use is relatively rare.

Also during the October-December period, 61 HIV-positive people developed full-blown AIDS, bringing Japan's total number of AIDS patients to 2,549, Iwakura said. Four other patients died from AIDS in the period, he added.

Critics say actual numbers of HIV-infected patients in Japan are likely much higher, because many people shy away from being tested for the disease to avoid facing discrimination.

The ministry's committee on AIDS surveillance began meeting every three months to compile statistics in 1984, when Japan's first AIDS patient was diagnosed.


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