Wed, Nov 26, 2003 - Page 2 News List

CDC unveils plans to test soldiers for HIV


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that next year soldiers would be given HIV tests after finishing their service, and fifth-graders would receive AIDS education.

"In the past, our prevention policies were very general. However, next year, we've identified seven hot spots that we intend to target," said Department of Health (DOH) Director General Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), reporting on policies finalized by the Executive Yuan AIDS prevention committee yesterday afternoon.

According to Chen, the seven issues the DOH will target are male homosexuality; the online sex industry; the sharing of needles in drug use; foreign brides and abortion; students from the fifth grade through middle school; conscripted servicemen; and people with HIV.

"Because records show that younger individuals have been contracting HIV in recent years, we plan to start AIDS education earlier," said Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), CDC deputy director in charge of the AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases division.

Lin said that for the past two years, the HIV rate among people between the ages of 15 and 24 was higher than Taiwan's overall HIV incidence rate.

"The educational material to be given to the fifth graders will focus on educating students on AIDS and sex," Chen said.

"At the same time, it will also promote an appropriate understanding of love and encourage a limited number of sexual partners," he said.

The DOH also reported that in response to the increase in HIV cases among the 20 to 29 age group, soldiers would be required to undergo HIV tests before leaving the army.

Chen said that while the increase in the rate of HIV infection in Taiwan was 3 percent, the corresponding figure in China was 50 percent.

Facts and figures

* About 38 percent of HIV-positive foreigners living in Taiwan come from Thailand; 8 percent come from Indonesia; 7.8 percent from Burma and 7.3 from the US.

* Twenty-four percent of HIV-positive people live in Taipei County, 23 percent in Taipei City and 7 percent in Taoyuan County.

* Only 6.9 percent of Taiwan's AIDS patients are female.

Source: DOH

According to Lin, Southeast Asia also faces a severe AIDS problem. As a result, the DOH plans to increase the number of HIV tests on foreign brides as well as women seeking abortions, who, the DOH says, run a higher risk of infection.

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