Beijing: The presence of a rising number of foreigners having HIV/AIDS has become a concern for Chinese health officials, who want the country`s citizens to be given priority over foreigners.There is a lack of "clear policies" on the issue of free treatment for HIV/AIDS patients, said a health expert.According to China`s National Centre for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control and Prevention, the mainland reported 8,366 foreign HIV/AIDS sufferers at the end of August. More than 200 foreigners were receiving free antiviral therapy, China Daily reported.Growing international exchanges are seeing more foreign sufferers arrive and stay longer in China, said Wu Zunyou, the centre`s director."We have no clear policies and Chinese nationals should always be the top priority, particularly with limited funding", said Wu.Most foreign sufferers are in the 20 to 44 age group and more than 50 percent were infected through heterosexual sex. Intravenous drug use is the second leading transmission route, the official revealed.According to Zhao Yan, deputy director of the national centre`s AIDS treatment and care division, the vast majority were diagnosed in hospital.The official also said free treatment is only for Chinese nationals with case-by-case exceptions for foreigners. Over 60 percent of the foreigners receiving free treatment were female.
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