Around 43,000 people ages 15-25 in Guinea-Bissau are HIV-infected, and health authorities estimate there will be 50,000 new HIV cases in 2005, Odete Semedo, the West African nation's minister of public health, said Wednesday at the opening of an AIDS prevention conference in Bissau. As in most other African countries, AIDS is the most critical public health problem facing Guinea-Bissau, which has a population of 1.3 million, Semedo said. A 2003 study found that nearly two-thirds of Guinean men did not use a condom during their last sexual encounter and one-third of them objected to practicing safe sex. The survey also found that 6 out of every 100 pregnant women attending health centers in 2003 were HIV-positive, Semedo said.
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