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China Reports Jump In Hiv Infections

The official number of Chinese infected with the virus that causes AIDS nearly doubled last year, the state news agency reported Tuesday.

The Xinhua news agency said 1,567 new HIV carriers were reported last year, bringing the total to 3,341 - a 46 percent increase. There are 117 Chinese with full-blown AIDS, it said.

Public health officials, however, believe that given China’s population of 1.2 billion people, the government figure of HIV cases is too low.

They estimate the figure may be as high as 90,000 and say that the virus likely is being spread by prostitutes and migrant workers.

Officially, however, the government views AIDS as a disease carried by foreigners and the people they fraternize with.