SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – Almost 40 percent of new AIDS patients last year were adolescents (10-19) and young adults (20-29).
Of the 1,199 new cases diagnosed, 37 were adolescents and 404 were young adults. Combined, they constituted 36.8 percent of all diagnoses.
The figures were disclosed by the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention on November 30, one day before World AIDS Day.
The data revealed that the overwhelming majority of those infected last year were male. Only 94 were female.
The 1,199 new diagnoses last year mean that when averaged out, there were three new AIDS patients per day.
As of last December, excluding those who had succumbed to the disease, the total recorded number of AIDS patients was 11,439.
Meanwhile, a fracas that broke out in a government building on December 1 served as an ugly reminder of the stigma that AIDS patients live with.
At an event titled “December First” that was held to raise awareness of AIDS among youth, AIDS activists began to shout down the speaker. One man was particularly vocal, accusing those present of comparing him to a criminal for having contracted AIDS.
The co-host of the event, National Assemblyman Seong Il-jong, became a controversial figure for his comments during a hearing of the Health and Welfare committee on October 13, where he said, “The government is not being properly forthcoming about the rise in AIDS transmissions caused by sexual relations between homosexuals.”
As the activists stormed the stage, holding banners and chanting slogans, others in the audience vocally demanded that they leave. However, a select number yelled that the AIDS patients were “dirty” and to “go and get treatment”.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)