The number of HIV/AIDS cases among young people in Taipei has fallen significantly so far this year, following the widening of a program to provide steeply discounted condoms to students, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Health said yesterday.
After falling from their previous peak 10 years ago, the number of HIV/AIDS infections in Taipei had risen steadily over the past five years, driven by a rapid increase in cases among young adults.
Chen Shao-ching (陳少卿), head of the department’s infectious diseases division, said the number of cases recorded in the 19-to-24-year-old age bracket is down 24 percent so far this year, while those in the 25 to 34 age bracket have grown only slightly.
The department compiles its statistics based on data reported by city hospitals.
Chen said the fall in infections among young adults could be reflective of the effectiveness of a cooperation program between the government and Taipei schools to raise awareness of the disease.
In addition to holding courses at certain schools, the government worked with colleges to install vending machines selling condoms at a steep discount at seven colleges this year, bringing the total number of schools offering the service to 13.
Sales from the machines account for one-fourth of condom sales in Taipei, according to department statistics.
The department also announced yesterday that young men from the city are to take part in an HIV/AIDS prevention course as part of their military service requirement, adding that it has already prepared 30,000 condoms to give away at the sessions.
The department said these efforts are aimed at ensuring that the HIV/AIDS prevention message reaches all young men, especially young gays, since its statistics show that homosexual men account for 70 percent of cases in the city.
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