A report released by China's Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and UNAIDS on the number of HIV/AIDS cases prevailing in the country, is raising doubts over the numbers that are being currently quoted, the New York Times reports.
A report released in 2003 had put the number of cases at 840,000, but new figures released on Wednesday reveal that the number has slipped to 650,000 with the number of full-blown cases at 75,000. The report also says that in the last year there were 70,000 new cases of AIDS with 25,000 deaths. But the Times says that many experts believe that the number of cases in China is at least 1.5 million. "Chung To -- chair of the Hong Kong-based Chi Heng Foundation, which provides services to AIDS orphans in China" says that many people in the country hide their status to avoid social stigma. "To me it is hard to believe [the report is] revising downward. It is certainly not what I see as a front-line, grassroots AIDS worker," it said. Odilon Couzin, an HIV/AIDS advocate, was puzzled as to how officials were able to survey among commercial sex workers and drug users. But Ray Yip, a Beijing representative of CDC, said that the new number was just an estimate.
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