China has reported an increasing number of foreigners with HIV entering the country since it lifted a travel ban imposed on such a group in 2010, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
The number of reported HIV cases among foreigners seeking to enter China was 660 in 2010, which increased to 1,146 the next year and 2,154 last year, Han Mengjie, director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, under China CDC, said at a news conference.
"With the number of inbound tourists expected to rise continuously in China due to more frequent international exchanges, more foreigners with HIV will be reported in China," he said. "More joint efforts from different departments are needed for control and prevention of HIV for expats in China."
It is important to improve education to promote voluntary testing among such a group, so they get timely treatment if found to be infected, Han said.
Before 2010 foreigners had to claim their HIV status when seeking a Chinese visa, and faced deportation if they were HIV positive.
Han said it has become a universal practice to allow the entry of inbound passengers with HIV, with around 143 countries adopting the practice.
A majority of inbound HIV cases reported last year were foreign spouses of Chinese living in Southwest China, but the reported number of foreign students with HIV coming to China for study has kept climbing rapidly--from 13 in 2010 to 100 last year, Han said.
Overall, the total number of newly reported HIV cases in China has also gone up every year. Last year, 135,000 new cases were reported, a rise of 8 percent year-on-year, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of China CDC, said.