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Remember AIDS? It's still a threat

42 Comments

While people in Japan have been gasping and coughing due to so-called PM 2.5 air pollutants mingled with the yellow dust from mainland Asia, Nikkan Gendai (March 20) serves up a reminder that AIDS, despite relatively quiet media coverage, remains a serious public health threat.

According to the latest statistics from Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the total number of new reported cases of people testing positive for the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during 2012 reached 1,001. In addition, some 445 new patients were diagnosed as having full-blown AIDS.

While those figures show a slight decline from 2011 (1,056/473 cases) and 2010 (1,075/469), this should not be cause for celebration. For one thing, the figures only reflect results of those who have been tested, and there's no telling how many more latent cases exist. The incubation period for AIDS, during which time a carrier may be unaware he or she has been infected, may range from six months to 15 years.

Between October and December of last year, 257 new cases of HIV infection were reported to the ministry, of whom 241 were Japanese and 16 foreign nationals. Of these, for 216 the source of infection was in Japan, as opposed to 10 overseas. (Sources for the other 31 were uncertain.) Broken down by age segment, the hardest-hit group was those ages 30-39, with 94 cases, followed by 83 cases for ages 20-29, and 59 cases for ages 40-49.

Nikkan Gendai warns that members of the postwar baby boom generation, now in their early 60s, are retiring in greater numbers. With more leisure to travel abroad -- their share of the total number of Japanese going overseas rose from 16% in 2005 to 20% in 2010 -- they are emerging as the new high-risk group.

Just minutes away from Manila's 5-star Hyatt Hotel is Mabini Ave, full of karaoke lounges and go-go bars, where female companionship is as easy as crooking a finger. In Bangkok's Patpong Road district, which offers similar delights, new HIV cases are said to have risen 25% since last year.

In China, public health officials released that country's highest figures ever for last year -- 68,802 new HIV cases between January and October. One reason for the increase: only 46% of Beijing's 90,000 prostitutes are said to insist that their johns wear protection.

The danger signs of HIV infection aren't always clear, but generally, between two to eight weeks following exposure, from 50 to 90% of infected individuals report flu-like symptoms, such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat and skin rashes.

Treatment, in the form of a regimen of drug "cocktails" to prevent full-blown AIDS, isn't cheap. The uninsured in Japan can expect to pay 200,000 yen a month. A source at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Shinjuku says that even with national health insurance, monthly out-of-pocket costs will easily come to 60,000 yen.

For those who can pull it off, there is one money-saving loophole: obtain certification as a disabled person, and the cost of treatments will drop, from 20,000 yen per month to completely free in some cases.

About one person out of three diagnosed with symptoms of AIDS is hospitalized, and it's common to stay there for two to three months at a time.

One of the biggest problems confronting an infected person is whether or not to inform his or her employer of the condition, and it appears that many choose to cover it up; but should prolonged hospitalization be required, the cause will almost certainly come out eventually. PLACE TOKYO, an NPO based in Shinjuku, tells the tabloid that about 40% of HIV sufferers wind up leaving their employer and are unable to find regular jobs after that.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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Don't be a fool, wrap your tool.

18 ( +18 / -1 )

Don't be a fool, wrap your tool

"Van Wilder"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

True story, a dentist here once told me that there was no need to worry about HIV in Japan, because....wait for it...."Japan is an island."

18 ( +21 / -3 )

Yeah, the ignorance about STDs in Japan is ridiculous. AIDs should be dwindling not growing or even spreading at all. If you could see all the types of drugs an HIV positive/ AIDs patient has to take I hope it would help sink in how serious it is. Not to mention the cost. How does spending 13k US dollars a month sound? And that is the LOW end of getting medication to suppress the virus' effects.

It goes beyond condoms too I might add. Sadly even in the US people are still being stupid. Syphillis (curable) is on the rise and 90% of it is affecting the gay male community. Herpes (incurable) is still being passed around amongst everybody... and the list can go on. People don't get themselves checked before hooking up with a new partner at the very least?

No STD test no hubba hubba if you ask me.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Someone I know (Japanese) brought home a lovely present for his wife (foreign) once - hep B.

The ignorance from people was shocking. One person was "Overseas business trip?" No. It was in Shibuya. "Ahhh. (nods knowngly) There are a lot of Chinese prostitutes around there." No, actually she was Japanese. "Oh no, I dont think so. She couldnt have been. Japanese dont have these things." No. Honestly. He told me she was Japanese. "Oh, he must be lying."

Sigh.....

I personally know two people right now who are shagging around on their husband/wife and dont bother with condoms. And not just cheating with one person. One of them will shag anything that moves. Its gross.

I think the number of HIV cases reported here has to be the tip of the iceberg. Given societys behavior here, and sex being available so easily coupled with absolute blind ignorance, how could it not be?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Just minutes away from Manila’s 5-star Hyatt Hotel is Mabini Ave, full of karaoke lounges and go-go bars, where female companionship is as easy as crooking a finger. In Bangkok’s Patpong Road district, which offers similar delights, new HIV cases are said to have risen 25% since last year

Typical, blame foreign nationals and not the ignorance of your own nationals !

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Typical, blame foreign nationals and not the ignorance of your own nationals !

The stats given in the 4th paragraph indicate that the new AIDS cases here are overwhelmingly home grown. I think this part was mainly focused on retired men who travel abroad to make whoopie, which might emerge as a new high-risk group.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

95% of the cases are infections caught in Japan? So it's a Japanese problem. So why the mention of Manila and China?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

AIDS!!!! I wouldn't want to catch that again!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Shinjuku says that even with national health insurance, monthly out-of-pocket costs will easily come to 60,000 yen"...

It's stuff like this that scare people into never getting tested, thereby spreading the disease and not getting treatment until it's too late. Scaring people into getting tested never works.

I guess I'm one of those 16 foreign nationals that tested positive last year. Leading up to finally getting tested, I would have read every single article on here related to HIV so hoping that others in the same boat will read this.

Go and get tested. HIV is a manageable disease now and you can expect to live just about as long as you would without it. Japan has access to almost all of the same drugs as you would find elsewhere. If you are on national healthcare, you will only need to pay ¥20,000 a month for medication and that's assuming you need them. You may not need them for up to 10 years.

The healthcare system here isn't the greatest, but when it comes to HIV, you'll no longer be visiting dodgy clinics, but have access to some wonderful doctors and social workers (my experience is in Tokyo so I can't speak for elsewhere).

You don't need to tell anyone, you won't need to take time off work or lose your job (assuming you don't wait until you are sick to get tested) and nothing will change. At some point you may need to take a pill once a day. That's it.

Getting tested is the only way to find out and the peace of mind you'll have either way is much better than the stress of not knowing.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Every country thinks it's from another country. Syphilis was called the French disease in Italy, the Italian disease in France, the Spanish disease in the Netherlands, the Polish disease in Russia, etc. At least in Japan we are not subjected to mandatory AIDS checks just because we are foreigners :

http://www.voanews.com/content/s-korea-hit-with-discrimination-claim-over-mandatory-hiv-testing-of-foreign-teachers/1441789.html

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Every country thinks it's from another country.

No they don't. Thailand, for one, mounted an effective campaign without xenophopic overtones. As for syphilis, Westerners have evolved over the last 400 years. Maybe the Japanese -- and the Koreans -- haven't.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Finally, a good article from a weekly. AIDS is here and it comes from everywhere. And it goes everywhere. You can get it from the girl or boy next door as easily as from a prostitute. Condoms are must when having sex with the proper or improper stranger. Fidelity for partners is a health necessity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Finally, a good article from a weekly.

Nikkan Gendai is a daily tabloid newspaper, and not to be confused with the weekly Shukan Gendai.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Testing here and visibility is just way low.

Think about those 250 odd new cases in that 3 month period last year.

Most foreigners' home countries have better education about AIDS than Jpan, so foreigners will be more likely to get a test. 16 of those 250+ cases were foreigners, something like 5 percent of the total. However foreigners, including Koreans born here, make up something like one percent of the population. I forgot the current numbers.

Now we don't know what percent of the foreigners get the test, would it even be half the population? Probably not. In any case with 1 % or so of the population getting 5% of the confirmed cases, we can see that the average Japanese awareness/ rate of testing must be very very low. The real number of cases would be 10x what they are saying? 5x? 20x?

In anycase, scary.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Poor sex education at schools and within families in Japan? I remember learning about sex in elementary school in Canada almost 30 years ago, then learning about STD's in junior high, about 25 years ago. Anybody know when kids learn about this stuff in Japan? Never?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan 2012, thanks and take care! It looks like access is getting better.

(As of ten years ago) a private student of mine who works in pharma said HIV inhibitors are really expensive (yes, insurance pays here) and pills can be like 10,000 yen each whole price because the market here is not as "good" as in the US -- according to him. But obviously the prices of these meds have settled this last decade so that part is less scary. And I can believe in the middle of a big city like Tokyo or Osaka you can have access to some wonderful services that you probably won't really see at a usual clinic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Of these, for 216 the source of infection was in Japan, as opposed to 10 overseas."

Why mention Manila and Bangkok in this article? Or even China, for that matter. Because of the '10 overseas'? You didn't even find evidence that the AIDS victims in Japan got it from those places. Tsk..tsk...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Typical. The article is about HIV in Japan and yet China, Thailand and the Philippians are somehow blamed. THIS is the issue in a nutshell. The notion that the locals are all disease free and gaikoku is once again, to blame.

Years ago when I went for my yearly HIV test, my first in Japan, the nurse asked what nationality I'd been having sex with. When I said locals she told me there was no need to have the test then. Amazing. And people wonder why I question the medical system here. Xenophobia knows no limits.

Wrap up or demand he wrap up. It's that simple and easy but yet not done here as much as it needs to be done.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Lowly, not sure why you're commenting on testing here. Most areas have testing available, for free no less. Been that way since I came here in 98. Anonymous and the results in a week. That's a lot better than many other places where they demand payment, insurance names and/or phone numbers. The availability of rating is great. The issue is the level if ignorance and education.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have been to clubs overseas where 95% of the patrons are Japanese and the girls make themselves as appealing as possible to Japanese males. The patrons at these clubs average in their mid-thirties with many being a lot younger than that.

Unless extremely careful they will be bringing back the wrong type of omiyage......

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Years ago when I went for my yearly HIV test, my first in Japan, the nurse asked what nationality I'd been having sex with.

Once when I went for a CT scan, a nun at a Catholic hospital reading off a list of questions asked me if I was pregnant. (I'm male.) But for the most part I've never been confronted with intrusive personal questions by medical personnel in this country and if I were, my answer would be, "Eh? Kono you na kensa ni, aite no kokuseki ga betsu ni kankei nai deshou?"

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Virtuoso, consider yourself lucky. I've had medical staff here ask more Han a few shockers in my time here.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

some AV's go unprotected now a days.... it use to be safer.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

tmarie-

don't know why my post was misunderstood. yes I agree with you, it is "ignorance/education", which I tried to mean by "visibility".

At that rate of infection, we can see that the jpns are a lot less likely to get tested than foreigners, which is due to not enough real info about the disease (imo). So I'm saying, more average jpns should get tested, and there are more cases than reported, so be careful.

As far as availability yes, I know it is available and free, often, which is great.

I went once, heart in throat until results came back.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A lot of Japanese were infected with AIDS and hepatitis C in the 1980's. In 1983, Japan imported 3.14 million litres of blood plasma from the US, as well as 46 million units of prepared blood products. Much of the blood collected for export from the United States came from inmates in Arkansas prisons. There were lawsuits regarding this issue in Japan, France and Canada. Getting a transfusion back in the 80's was like playing Russian roulette. Even as late as 2003, there were some instances where AIDS tainted products were used in transfusions in Japan. HIV was later detected only when more advanced testing methods were used. So AIDS infections are not just due to unprotected sex. Anyone who has ever had a transfusion should also get tested for AIDS.

Treatment, in the form of a regimen of drug "cocktails" to prevent full-blown AIDS, isn't cheap.

I believe they've already found a cure for AIDS using bone marrow transplants from people who are naturally resistant to HIV infection. Look up the story of Timothy Ray Brown, a.k.a. the "Berlin Patient."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I believe they've already found a cure for AIDS using bone marrow transplants from people who are naturally resistant to HIV infection.

They've done this successfully...I think twice. And it's excruciatingly painful, time-consuming and expensive. I think the doctors that did it said they wouldn't even recommend putting anyone through it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hep C... My MIL is sick with it and I have yet to get a clear answer as to how and why this is the case.

Lowly, I thought you were suggesting a lack of testing. My apologies. Yes, more need to get tested. I did every year, as did most if my friends. We talked about it. I don't see the young here even discussing it let alone getting tested. They all think it is a foreigners disease and well, based on the article and the finger pointing to other countries, no wonder is it.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

When giving a blood sample at many hospitals, its tested for HIV. If you don't hear anything, you are negative. 21% of HIV carriers and 20% of AIDS patients in Japan are foreigners living in Japan.

http://stats-japan.com/t/kiji/11673

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Like I'd believe stats coming out of Japan!

I've also heard that they don't test unless you ask - I asked a doctor about this a few years ago when I was getting my medical check. He seemed shocked I would even ask if HIV screening was routine. Perhaps that's changed? I have a check next week and will ask.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Two sides to Aids:

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol53no4/pdf/U-%20Boghardt-AIDS-Made%20in%20the%20USA-17Dec.pdf (CIA disinfo campaign)

VS:

<http://www.mikehagan.com/USSPECIALVIRUSFC.jpg (1972 flowchart for SVCP -must zoom in)>

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@tmarie

Like I'd believe stats coming out of Japan!

the link I provided is a very good one.

I've also heard that they don't test unless you ask - I asked a doctor about this a few years ago when I was getting my medical check. He seemed shocked I would even ask if HIV screening was routine. Perhaps that's changed? I have a check next week and will ask.

I recently attended a hospital for a minor op which required a blood sample. I was told the sample would also be tested for HIV and when I asked the doc about it, she said it was now a common practice at most main hospitals.

But in any case, anyone having multiple partners should be getting anHIV test yearly.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan is blind when it comes to public medical knowledge and teaching the young generation about sex and aids. They just simply avoid and it keep all this hush hush likes its too embarrassing to talk about.

In the Japan's red light district, soap lands, delivery health, etc. Most of these services do not let's gaijins into them in fear of them spreading the virus to Japanese workers. They think that every gaijin is infected and won't provide service to them. In turn at these red light districts none of them are using protection either. Seems like Japan is playing Russian roulette when it comes to this industry. Of course there are some that let gaijins in but most of them do not.

My friend tells me so much stories about this industry that its pretty amusing to hear.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@ JeffLee - Right On! Why mention those other countries and not Japan? All I have to do is walk from my place to the eki at nite, and I'm accosted by "nite workers" offering services. The problem is right here, right now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If it's not on,it's not on!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sometimes I wonder if the foreign men among us know/remember about this..... They be getting on wild just because the pickings are easy. The other day I heard one of them talking about how he caught an STD...he said it as if it's nothing... The Japanese media is very selective. Not many STD warning or reminders...nothing. SMH

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i am astonished that some have regular HIV check ups. These would be advisable for those in the sex industry or neele using junkies, but for regular people? If you trust authorities enough to have checks like this, then good for you. the fact that omeoe goes for regular checks may wll be on record even if they claim they are not. this can be used against you in the future regarding insurance etc, that is the way the world is heading.

HIV cases are low concerning the regular population and overly concerning one selves with this is not needed. In first world nations HIV infected people can live long lives now although they need many drugs daily. AIDS was called the gay plague aming other things and we were told of impending doom, it never happened but as usual the coporations are making a mint.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There might really be an image that Japan and the Japanese are clean in every sense of the word. Back in 2001 when me, my husband who was a Japanese and my son who is a Japanese too were required to take a medical exam as we decided to stay there permanently then. With us,was a British retiree too. My husband and son wasn't asked to undergo AIDS testing only the British man. Don't know if that selective medical exam is practiced till now. The mods might delete my comment again as they might say my comment is off topic. But this is tangent to the topic. That Japan is clean and that Japanese are clean hence AIDS free. Or that men are having sex with very, very young girls hence clean and AIDS free.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, it's no secret, Japanaese like to "mess around". And, lot's of salivary men like to cheat on their wives. And many a Japanese man has been seen in Bangkok's Nana.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Japan2012; thanks so much for being open about your status. Means a lot.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you got infected by HIV virus, you might lose your job, pay a lot money, be hospitalized and lose your lover. The most unpleasant virus despite of being HIV sufferer or not. I am waiting for the medicine that can kill that one and vanish AIDS virus out of this world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Japan2012; thanks so much for being open about your status. Means a lot.

Telling the people directly who have been put at risk would mean more.

Nowhere in that whole report, was there any mention of this basic human courtesy.

You don't need to tell anyone,

and nothing will change.

Those are two of the most unbelievably naive and selfish statements ever.

You DO need to tell people who have been put at risk.

Everything has changed, as an HIV carrier, you are able to infect others, and knowing it carries a responsibility.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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