BEIJING, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The AIDS virus, which
claimed 6,897 lives from January to September in 2008, became the top killer
among infectious diseases in China for 2008, according to a government epidemic
report released Tuesday.
Tuberculosis and rabies ranked the second and third
followed by hepatitis and infant's tetanus, said the report released by the
Ministry of Health (MOH) on its Website.
By comparison with the rankings in the previous three
years, AIDS jumped to the top from the third place of infectious disease killers
for the first time with a doubled accumulated number of infected people in the
The MOH confirmed 264,302 HIV accumulated cases by
the end of September. Of those cases, 34,864 have died.
The accumulated figure nearly doubled from the figure
released three years ago. In September 2005, the MOH announced that an
accumulated 135,630 Chinese had been infected by the virus.
Three years ago, the death toll was 7,773. By 2008,
the death toll was five times that figure.
AIDS is believed to have been introduced to China in
1982. Three years later, the government announced the first death from the
The government launched a nationwide policy of "four
frees, one care," in 2003 for all HIV carriers and AIDS patients.
The four frees are: free HIV testing; free counseling
and treatment for carriers in rural regions; free medication for all pregnant
HIV carriers, and free education for AIDS orphans. The "care" is for
impoverished AIDS patients and the elimination of AIDS-related discrimination.
The report also said the health authorities included
hand-foot-and-mouth disease into the country's epidemic prevention and control
endeavor in May last year.
After a major outbreak in central China's Anhui
Province last March, the disease had claimed 128 lives in the country.