AIDS becomes China's deadliest infectious disease

BEIJING (AP) -- For the first time last year, AIDS was the top killer among infectious diseases in China.

A state news agency is reporting the increase, though it did not explain the jump. One possible factor is the Chinese government's improved reporting of HIV/AIDS statistics in recent years.

The report says nearly 7,000 people died of AIDS in China in the nine months through September. The numbers also show confirmed HIV infections have nearly doubled.

China has long denied that AIDS was a problem. But leaders have shifted in recent years, confronting the disease more openly and promising anonymous testing, free treatment for the poor and a ban on discrimination against people with the virus.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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