Japan's HIV/AIDS Cases Hit New High
February 8, 2007
Surveillance figures announced Wednesday by the Japanese Foundation for AIDS Prevention reveal that Japan experienced a record number of new HIV cases in 2006: 914, an 8.8 percent increase from 2005. In addition, 390 patients received an AIDS diagnosis.
Sex between men was the most common route of transmission. Among the newly infected, men outnumbered women 15 to one.
Despite the spike in new infections, Japan's HIV/AIDS caseload remains low by global standards. According to foundation figures, 13,778 people are known to be HIV-positive among the nation's 127.7 million people.
However, the upward trend puts Japan at odds with most other developed nations, where new HIV infections are decreasing and most new cases are heterosexuals. According to a foundation spokesperson, "This is because Japan is still lagging well behind compared with Europe or the United States" in terms of HIV knowledge and sex education in schools. "There are also cultural factors preventing people from wearing condoms, asking their partners to wear one or having their partners get tested before intercourse."
One bright spot: The number of Japanese presenting for HIV testing in 2006 was up 16.2 percent from 2005, an indication of growing awareness of the virus.
Agence France Presse