The number of Korean teenagers with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has increased more than four-fold in the past 10 years, said Rep. In Jae-keun, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party Friday.
|Source: Rep. In Jae-keun|
Recent data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Health Insurance Service showed the number of Korean AIDS patients rising annually across all age groups even while the number has been decreasing worldwide.
There are a total of 13,584 AIDS patients in Korea now, indicating a 2.6-fold increase from a decade ago. Those in their 30s accounted for 27.2 percent of the total with 3,699 people, followed by those in their 20s (25.9 percent) with 3,523 people, and those in their 40s (22.1 percent) with 3,000 people.
The number of AIDS patients among teenagers rose sharply by 4.2-times in the past years from 99 in 2007 to 417 last year, the lawmaker noted.
The number of AIDS patients in their 60s also rose 3.2-fold to 1,008 people, while those in their 50s rose 2.9 times (from 655 to 1,922 people). The 20-something patients increased 2.8 times in number (from 1,243 to 3,524), and the comparable growth rate was 2.4 times for those in their 40s, and 2.1 times for those in their 30s, the data showed.
The number of newly diagnosed AIDS patients also totaled 1,062 last year, an increase from 740 people diagnosed a decade ago.
A study of HIV/AIDS treatment in the past five years showed a total of 44,241 people were treated. Total expenses for AIDS treatment in the same period amounted to around 448.4 billion won ($395.7 million), incurring health insurance expenditures of approximately 412.2 billion won, the lawmaker said.
“The number of AIDS patients and their social costs continue to increase,” the governing party legislator said. “Given that AIDS cannot be cured yet, the high increase in the number of teenagers with AIDS is a not only a health problem but also a financial problem for the nation.”
AIDS is a preventable disease. Public health authorities must come up with extraordinary measures to prevent unsafe sexual contact and to pay particular attention to its prevention, she added.
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