BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- China currently has 346,000 registered HIV carriers and AIDS patients, although the actual number is predicted to hit 780,000 by the end of 2011, according to an expert panel.
Consisting of members from China's Ministry of Health (MOH), the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, the expert panel estimated that the country will have 154,000 AIDS patients by the end of 2011, with 48,000 new infections and 28,000 deaths this year, according to a statement released by the MOH on Tuesday.
China has been boosting distribution of HIV/AIDS tests among spouses of carriers and others who have close contact with them, the statement said, adding that a total of 67.45 million HIV tests were conducted across the country between January and October, up 16.5 percent year-on-year.
These tests found 61,000 HIV carriers and AIDS patients.
"HIV/AIDS remains a mildly prevalent disease in China, with the number of HIV carriers and AIDS patients in the country accounting for roughly one-fiftieth of the world's total," said the statement.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the HIV/AIDS incidence rate in certain groups and parts of the country has become relatively high through infection by sexual intercourse, especially homosexual intercourse.
"Many HIV carriers will develop full-blown AIDS cases in the future, and the disease will start to have an impact on the country's economy and society," said the statement.
The latest figures from the CDC showed that China has registered 434,000 HIV carriers and AIDS patients, as well as 88,000 deaths due to the disease, since 1985, when the first case was found in the country.