HIV rate among young rising in Taiwan

PHOTO: HIV rate among young rising in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said that the number of HIV-positive people aged 15 to 24 has risen over the past three years, largely as the result of unsafe sexual behaviour and drug use.

The DOH said that as of May there were 26,050 people with HIV in Taiwan, noting that 19.5 per cent of them were between 15 and 24 years old.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hau said that in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the percentages of HIV-infected people in the 15-24 age bracket grew from 26.2 per cent to 27.5 per cent to 28.6 per cent.

Among those, 90 per cent were infected through unsafe sexual behaviour, Chou said. Of those, Chou said, many participated in dangerous sexual practices as a result of drug use.

Chou said taking drugs affects people's mental states and reduces the chance that they will wear condoms during sex.

Chou added that police have found many cases of on-campus drug dealing over the past few years, and suggested that police work with schools to bust drug dealers and to help students involved in investigations stay away from drugs.

He also urged schools to enhance their safe sex and drug prevention efforts.