HIV-AIDS cases hit record in ’06

Kyodo News

A single-year record of 914 new HIV infection cases in Japan were reported in 2006, while reports of those developing AIDS also grew to a record high of 390, bringing the total to 1,304, preliminary data released Wednesday by the government’s AIDS Surveillance Committee showed.

For the third year in a row the reported total of new HIV infections and new AIDS patients topped 1,000 and reached a record high.

A majority of new HIV infections were attributed to male homosexual contact, the committee’s report notes. By age, 2006 saw an increase in HIV infections among those aged 30 or older, with HIV infections generally spreading among those in their 20s to their 40s, it said.

“While the number of people getting exams is growing, we believe infections themselves are on the increase,” said Aikichi Iwamoto, who chairs the committee.

“Given most were infected through sexual contact, we hope people will understand that HIV is increasingly common, take preventive measures and get examined early if they are worried about anything,” said Iwamoto, who is a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science.

In 2005, preliminary data showed there were 778 people newly infected with HIV and 366 new AIDS patients, bringing the total to 1,124. The data were later revised to 832 HIV-infected people and 385 AIDS patients, for a total of 1,199.

The committee also announced data for the October-December quarter of 2006. There were 235 people newly infected with HIV and 85 new AIDS patients, it said. In both categories, more than nine out of 10 were men and a majority attributed infection to same-sex contact.