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|AIDS/HIV News Archive: KOREA|
455 more test positive for HIV/AIDS in Korea 25/10/04 -- Korea Herald
On Oct. 20, health authorities reported that 455 people tested positive for HIV in the first nine months of 2004, raising the number of resident Koreans who have been infected with the virus to 2,994. The new cases represent a 14 percent increase over new cases in the same period the previous year. All 305 cases whose route of transmission has been determined were infected sexually: 51 percent heterosexual vs. 49 percent homosexual, according to the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Since 1985, when the nation's AIDS epidemic began, 591 people died of AIDS, leaving the number living with HIV-infection at 2,403. A survey last year found that only 12 percent of adults reported using condoms during sex. In an effort to boost their use, KCDC recently launched a major campaign to improve the image of condoms. Beginning this month, KCDC and the Korea Anti-AIDS Federation introduced commercials promoting condom use. These public service announcements, aired nationwide on MBC-TV, are scheduled to run twice daily Monday through Thursday and once daily Friday through Sunday. In addition, 132 foreign residents were found to be HIV-infected: They are not included in the 455 figure. The number of foreign cases in the first nine months of 2004 was more than double the 59 foreign cases found in all of 2003. Some 80,000 formerly illegal foreign workers have undergone a required check-up that includes an HIV test, and health authorities say this explains the sharp increase in cases detected among foreigners. Immigration officials say foreigners who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS may face deportation if they do not return home on their own.
AIDS Support Center Opens in Itaewon 24/04/03 -- Korea Times
The Korea UNAIDS Information Support Center has opened
recently in Itaewon, Seoul, to provide foreign residents with
information and counseling on the disease. "Due to the language
barrier, it was difficult for immigrants in Korea to obtain
knowledge on AIDS," said Dr. Nalini Taneja, KUISC program
director. The center will provide practical support, counseling
services and anonymous testing for the disease. "Some foreign
workers thought AIDS can be caught by hugging," she said. The
center plans to hold media and street campaigns to promote
awareness of the disease. Information is available in English,
and the center is also searching for volunteers who are able to
communicate in other languages used in the foreign community.
Changing Attitude Toward Sex Threatens South Korea 14/03/03 -- San Francisco Chronicle
In South Korea, conservative mores discourage frank
discussion about sex and some people say promiscuity and adultery
are less common than in other Asian countries. Many health
experts say society's renunciation of promiscuity is a major
reason why South Korea's 50 million inhabitants have one of the
lowest HIV infection rates in Asia. UNAIDS says there were only
4,000 cases, or .01 percent of the 15-to-49 age bracket, at the
end of 2001.
However, some recent surveys show that 17 percent of high
school students are sexually active. Men account for nearly 89
percent of Koreans with HIV, official statistics show. Most are
in their 30s (35.2 percent) and 20s (27.1 percent). About 94
percent of all South Koreans with HIV contracted it sexually, 67
percent from heterosexual intercourse and 30 percent from
homosexual intercourse, according to Korea's National Institute
of Health. Very few contracted HIV through dirty needles. In
2002, South Korea recorded 400 new HIV cases, compared to 124 in
1997. And by 1993, the majority of new infections were passed
from Korean to Korean.
The sex industry in South Korea is big business, accounting
for $20 billion, or 4.1 percent of the nation's gross domestic
product in 2002, according to the Korean Institute of
Criminology. To control prostitution, government officials are
considering legalizing it.
Korea's National Institute of Health plans to install 18,000
condom vending machines at major nightspots throughout the
country and at "every possible location we can," said Kwon Jun
Wook, an NIH official. The government now also offers a Web site
with AIDS information, a 24-hour hotline and free HIV tests. A
government campaign encourages middle school and high school
teachers to lead candid discussions with their students about the
consequences of unprotected sex. Starting in middle school,
students are taught about abstinence and safe sex practices.
HIV Infections Rise by 20 Percent 18/10/02 -- Korea Times
The number of Koreans who are infected with HIV is on the rise, according
to a study released by the nation's National Institute of Health on
Thursday. Between January and September this year, 277 people have tested
HIV-positive, increasing the total number of people with HIV to 1,888 as
of September. The rate shows that an average of one person is infected
each day. This is a 19.7 percent increase from the same period last year.
Among those who have tested positive, 73 have contracted AIDS and 59 have
died of the disease. The study also found that, of those who knew how they
were infected, 97.2 percent, or 1,505, said they acquired the virus during
sexual intercourse. Of those infected sexually, 360 (23.9 percent)
acquired the virus by contact with foreigners, while 688 (almost 46
percent) acquired it from Koreans. Thirty percent (457 people) were
infected by members of the same sex.
More South Koreans Found HIV Positive in 2001 10/01/02 -- Korea Times
Korea's National Institute of Health (NIH) reported
Wednesday that 333 people tested positive for HIV in 2000,
bringing the total figure for the country to 1,613 cases, with 42
progressing to AIDS last year. Of those, only two patients remain
alive. Though HIV infections have steadily climbed in recent
years, this represents the largest increase since the first case
was confirmed in 1985. Infections in teenagers rose to six from
one case the previous year. Infections in people in their 50s
more than doubled, from 23 cases to 52. Among people in their
60s, the number increased from 10 to 22 cases. The figure for
male patients rose from 194 to 298, a 54 percent increase.
Reluctance to use condoms during sex, NIH officials said, brought
about by ignorance of the disease was a decisive factor in the
greater number of cases. A NIH official said campaigns urging
condom use and other activities are planned to heighten awareness
of the disease.
Surge in AIDS Attributed to More Liberal Attitudes Toward Sex
Among Korean Youth 07/05/01 -- Korea Herald
Officials of Korea's National Institute of Health (NIH)
reported yesterday that 159 Koreans became infected with HIV in
the first six months of the year, bringing the nation's total
number of HIV cases to 1,439. Thirty HIV-infected persons died,
and 23 developed AIDS. The number of new HIV cases reported
between January and June was higher than for the same period in
2000 (110), 1999 (88) or 1998 (64).
HIV officials attributed the increase to young Koreans'
sexual activities, which have become more liberal, as well as to
a rise in infections among homosexuals. Officials also said HIV
incidence is rising faster because an increasing number of people
are being tested for HIV.
Of the 1,209 HIV cases whose cause was confirmed, 1,167 (97
percent) were sexually transmitted. The second most common route
of infection was through blood transfusions or blood-based
N. Korea Has No AIDS Patients, Health Minister Says
Oct 21, 1997
In a speech marking National Immunization Day on Monday, North Korea's health minister announced that the communist nation is the only country in the world free of AIDS, North Korea Central Broadcasting reports. Health Minister Kim Su-hak also noted that the country had long since eradicated measles, smallpox, and diphtheria. -- Reuters (10/21/97)
SOUTH KOREA: CAUTIOUS SOCIETY CAUGHT IN A VICE
July 21, 1996
A TEENAGE couple walk hand in hand in Seoul's swank Myong-dong shopping arcade. A normal rite of spring in many parts of the world, but for some conservative members of Korean society a disturbing new trend. Public displays of affection are frowned upon in Korea, and are sometimes seen as a breakdown in a social system that has enabled the country to overcome the trials of history.
A debate is underway between the Health-Welfare Ministry and the Ministry of Education about the inclusion of sex education classes in school curriculums. The Ministry of Education argues the conservative nature of many parents precludes the teaching of sex education, especially contraception.
But government figures indicate that the AIDS virus, once believed
to have been passed on exclusively from foreigners to Koreans, is
now more likely to be passed from Korean to Korean. The lack of information on contraception, experts say, is likely to
cause a significant increase in the numbers of Koreans with HIV.
--SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
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