BEIJING, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's health authority announced on Wednesday that 17,740 AIDS-related deaths were reported in the country from January to October, a year-on-year increase of 8.6 percent.
As those living with HIV have become AIDS patients over time,AIDS-related deaths are on the rise, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The MOH said the latest figures show that 34,157 new cases of AIDS were reported in China in the ten-month period, up by 12.7 percent year-on-year.
HIV rates have risen among people aged 15 to 24 and those over 50.
From January to October, 16,131 new cases of HIV infections among citizens over 50 were reported, marking a year-on-year increase of 20.2 percent.
There were also 9,514 new cases of HIV reported among young people aged 15 to 24, up 12.8 percent year on year, according to figures from the MOH.
The MOH said the HIV/AIDS epidemic is rampant in some locations and among certain groups of people.
In total, China reported 492,191 cases of HIV/AIDS by the end of October, including 68,802 new cases this year, according to the MOH.
Sexual transmission has become the primary channel of HIV/AIDS spreading. Sex between men registered a sharp increase, said the MOH.
Out of the new cases of HIV within the ten month period, 84.9 percent contracted the virus through sexual intercourse.
According to China's AIDS Action Plan for the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) published by the State Council, or China's Cabinet, in February, the country aims to decrease AIDS fatalities by 30 percent by 2015, and new cases by 25 percent as compared to 2010.
Since the end of 2003, the Chinese government has carried out the policy "four frees, one care" for people living with HIV/AIDS. This includes free blood tests for those with HIV, free education for orphans of AIDS patients, free consultation and screening tests, and free antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women.