A total of 1,222 Koreans reported themselves as human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) patients last year, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
According to the “2019 HIV/AIDS Report Status Annual Report” released by the KCDC last Friday, the number of patients increased by (16 people, or 1.3 percent, from 2018. The 2019 figure is also the highest confirmed cases to be reported since the government began to compile the HIV/AIDS data in 1985.
Among the total, 1,111 (90.9 percent) were men, and 111 were women (9.1 percent).
Patients in their 20s accounted for the most cases with 438, or 35.8 percent of the total, followed by 30s with 341, 40s with 202, and 50s with 129. Thirty-one patients were ages 15 to 19.
The number of Korean nationals totaled 1,005 cases, up 16 from the previous year, with the other 217 instances being foreigners, the same as 2018.
Among the local patients, 821, or 81.7 percent, patients said they were infected with the virus because of sexual contact.
In detail, 442 patients (53.8 percent) contracted the virus after making love with same-sex people. In contrast, 379 people (46.2 percent) did so after having heterosexual intercourse.
The most frequent motive for examination was the appearance of symptoms (332 cases), followed by voluntarily testing due to suspicion (273) and confirmed cases due to pre-operation tests (175).
“AIDS is a chronic infectious disease that can be managed with treatment. The government’s policy emphasizes disease prevention, early diagnosis and treatment,” KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said. “To prevent HIV infection, people must follow precautions such as safe sexual contact. If anyone suspects an infection, they must visit a public health center for an early test free of charge.”