AIDS ranks 10th as killer of young adults in Taiwan

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) recently disclosed that AIDS-related diseases were the 10th leading cause of death among young adults in 2012, the Taipei City Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday, adding that this is the first time the condition made it onto the list.

The department said that another recent statistic shows that 162 people were infected with HIV between January and May in Taipei City this year. The DOH went on to say that a young college student was recently diagnosed with HIV infection after attending a house party and having unsafe sex with a person met online.

The health department said that after the unprotected sex with the stranger, the young adult constantly felt joint and muscle aches and therefore went to a hospital to take the HIV test.

The department said that of the 162 new infections in Taipei City, 37 of them were in people between 19 and 24 years old and they were all infected with the virus due to unprotected sexual behaviour.

Some patients show symptoms within six months of becoming infected with the virus, but in some cases the disease may not become apparent for up to seven or even 10 years after contraction, the DOH said.

The DOH urged young adults to avoid going to house parties, sex parties or having unsafe sex with strangers to prevent the risk of infection with HIV. The department went on to say that people should be careful when choosing netizens to go out with. The DOH urged people not to change sexual partners too often.

The health department said that if people do not use condoms while having sex, they should go to one of seven designated hospitals in Taipei to consult doctors within 72 hours and take HIV prevention pills at their own expense to reduce the chances of becoming infected with the virus.

In order to educate people on the importance of HIV prevention, the DOH ordered staff to monitor comments on online dating websites and reply with accurate information regarding knowledge of safe sex and HIV prevention. The DOH will release relevant articles about the issues on the Internet from time to time to raise people's awareness, the department said.