• Kyodo News


The number of people found to have contracted AIDS in Japan during the April-June period totaled 129, a record high for a three-month period, a Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare panel said Friday.

The figure included 125 men, according to the AIDS Trend Committee, which also reported 263 people newly infected with the human immunodeficiency virus in the same quarter, including the first case of mother-to-child transmission in four years.

April-June HIV antibody tests conducted by municipalities nationwide totaled 31,691, up by 2,000 from the January-March period. But the number has remained low since the outbreak of a new strain of flu in May last year.

“It’s possible many of the new patients developed AIDS because they did not receive antibody tests, so there is a need to help make it easier for people to go and get tested,” said committee Chairman Aikichi Iwamoto, an authority on infectious diseases and professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science.

On the mother-to-child transmission case, Iwamoto said the mother is likely to have skipped pregnant-woman checkups and went to the hospital shortly before her baby was born.

“If (obstetricians) know (their patients) are infected (with HIV), they can prevent mother-to-child transmission by treatment,” he said.

Of the 125 men, 68 contracted AIDS via homosexual contact. Forty three are in their 30s, 38 are in their 40s and 30 are in their 50s and above.

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