HIV infections in Korea top 8,000

The total number of HIV/AIDS cases in Korea surpassed the 8,000 mark with a record number of new infections last year, health authorities said Tuesday.

According to the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 888 more Koreans were found to have contracted HIV, which can lead to AIDS, in 2011, raising the total number to 8,544.

Some 1,512 of the 8,514 infected have died, which leaves 7,032 Koreans currently living with HIV/AIDS.

The number of new infections has been on a steady rise in recent years from 610 in 2004 to 888 last year. Authorities, however, attributed the upward trend to an increase in voluntary testing and reporting, rather than a failure to control the virus' spread.

HIV was first reported in Korea in 1985.

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