BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- China's public security departments have stopped using condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, according to an official with the AIDS prevention committee under the State Council.
"Now police departments at all levels no longer take condoms as the proof of illegal sex activities in entertainment venues," Han Mengjie, also secretary of the National Center for AIDS Control and Prevention, said Friday in an online interview with Xinhuanet.com.
As various public places were told by health authorities to provide condoms in an attempt to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, police departments have gradually adapted to this change in line with AIDS prevention efforts, according to Han.
According to national surveillance figures, the rate of regular condom use among China's prostitutes rose from 14.7 percent in 2001 to 41.4 percent in 2006.
All hotels in Beijing will be required to provide condoms in every room by the end of next year, though so far they are only available in 133 hotels out of 700 in Beijing, according to local government statistics.
The Regulation on AIDS Prevention and Control, issued by the State Council in January last year, urges all public places designated by provincial or municipal governments to provide condoms or condom vending machines.
"Sex has become the main channel through which the HIV virus is contracted," Minister of Health Chen Zhu said Thursday.
Of the 50,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS in the past year, 44.7 percent contracted the virus through heterosexual transmission and12.2 percent through homosexual transmission, according to an appraisal report jointly prepared by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS.
China currently has 223,501 people who have been officially reported to have contracted HIV, including 62,838 AIDS patients, said the report which was released Thursday.
In October 2006, the number of reported HIV carriers was 183,733, according to the MOH.