The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has launched a free counseling hotline for homosexuals, in response to what it said was a growing rate of male-to-male HIV/AIDS transmission in Taiwan in recent years.
People who have questions or concerns about safe sex and disease prevention are encouraged to call the toll-free number 0800-010-069, the CDC said yesterday.
The most recent CDC statistics showed that male homosexual acts were the chief means of HIV/AIDS transmission in Taiwan.
As of December, there were 20,057 reported HIV/AIDS cases in Taiwan, 44 percent of which had been transmitted through sexual activity between men, according to CDC statistics.
The data further showed that 32.1 percent of the patients had been infected through intravenous injections from drug use, and 22 percent by means of heterosexual sex.
The number of HIV/AIDS infections caused by sexual activity between men is growing, Liu said, adding that the number of cases had risen from 1,007 in 2008, to 1,095 in 2009 to 1,275 cases last year, without clarifying.
As part of efforts to help curb the trend, the CDC said, it is offering free telephone consultation service for homosexuals with health and sex-related problems.
The hotline will be manned by specialists with training in social work and public health, according to the CDC.
In other news, the CDC on Saturday reported the nation’s first case of indigenous measles this year.
The patient, a 20-year-old college student who attends school in Taipei, came down with a rash on Feb. 18, the center said.
Further investigation found that the student had received a vaccine against measles when she was one year old. However, there was no record of follow-up vaccination after she entered elementary school, CDC Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said.
Two days before the rash developed, the patient visited Pingsi Township (平溪) for the sky lantern festival and the Shifenliao (十分寮) area in Taipei County, Shih said.
So far, the CDC has tracked down 15 people who had contact with the student, and two of them have reported feelings of discomfort, Shih said.
To prevent the disease from spreading, the CDC called on passengers who took Taiwan Railway trains on Feb. 16 to and from Taipei, Pingsi and Shifenliao to conduct self-health management.