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No. of newly AIDS-infected persons in Japan reaches record high 484 in 2013

47 Comments

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says that in 2013, 484 individuals in Japan were newly diagnosed with AIDS. This is the largest number ever for a one-year period since the ministry began tracking AIDS in 1985.

Similarly, the overall number of people newly confirmed as HIV positive, was 1,106, the second largest number ever, TBS reported. Furthermore, the number of individuals 50 years and older who have been infected with AIDS is on the rise, and the overall age range for infected persons has grown steadily broader, the ministry said.

Those who are diagnosed as HIV positive can, if they seek proper medical treatment in a timely fashion, keep themselves from developing AIDS, a ministry official said. The ministry is asking concerned people to get tested. "Early detection can save your life and the lives of others," TBS quoted the spokesman as saying

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Relatively speaking it is still a very low number in relation to the size of Japans population. I think one of the reasons numbers remains low because of the high use of condoms as a contraceptive.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

This is an interesting article in so many ways. I don't wish to be controversial, but I wonder, isn't public knowledge available about how this disease is spread? The age bracket of "50 years and older" I think speaks volumes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

SimondBMay. 26, 2014 - 08:22AM JST Relatively speaking it is still a very low number in relation to the size of Japans population. I think one of the reasons numbers remains low because of the high use of condoms as a contraceptive.

Living in Japan I can tell you that this is not necessarily true. In the social scene there is actually very little use of contraceptives of any kind, especially since there is little sexual education. We can see this as we look in the public school system. What makes more sense to explain the low number of of HIV infected persons is the lack of people who are confident enough to go to a doctor for a STD screening, perhaps related to social stigmas.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Statistics are always tricky. Leaving aside whatever rate might exist in some other country (because its irrelevant outside that country), using Japan's standard to measure Japan, this is apparently "the largest number ever for a one-year period." Compared to somewhere else, this might be low rate, but for Japan this is a high rate-- the highest ever. This indicates a trend, not an absolute number. Let's keep the trend in mind.

And in my experience, condom use here is shockingly low compared to the west. So again, let's look at the trend, not the numbers.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And if anybody actually believes this ridiculous number, I have a bridge to sell you.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Hi oneduce. That has been my experience too. Contraceptive use is low in Japan. So is knowledge of STDs, not just AIDS. That might be part of the explanation for the epidemic of chlamydia and crabs at high schools across Japan. I think young people need to learn about this. But the age bracket in the article is 50s, so maybe it's not just young adults. Openness is a virtue.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just for interest sake, if you are a foreigner and have AIDS, (and inform the government or the hospital does) your visa wont be renewed unless you are a PR.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@gogogo

so what's your point? a visa is not a right.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

oneduceMay. 26, 2014 - 08:42AM JST Living in Japan I can tell you that this is not necessarily true. In the social scene there is actually very little use of contraceptives of any kind, especially since there is little sexual education. We can see this as we look in the public school system. What makes more sense to explain the low number of of HIV infected persons is the lack of people who are confident enough to go to a doctor for a STD screening, perhaps related to social stigmas.

Spot on. However Japan has other problems. The new infectious disease control act (1999) doesn't allow individuals to be identified, only the consulting physician. This means that infected individuals cannot be tracked. This may sound good from a layperson's point of view, but from a research perspective it is a major headache.

Also not that this is new diagnoses, not the total number of HIV positive people in Japan. We know the statistics are bad, so a common tactic is to look at associated data, like sales of antiretrovirals used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Japan is the third biggest market in the world for these, accounting for 10.8% of all sales. This begs the questions, "If Japan's HIV/AIDS rate is so low, then who is using this antiretrovirals?".

The data on other STDs, such as herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc., shows that Japan has a comparatively high rate of infection, so condom usage is definitely not as prevalent as some sources claims.

The total picture, when you ignore the official government statistics and instead focus on secondary associated measures that are harder to fake and distort, is that Japan probably has a much higher HIV/AIDS rate than is being reported.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I understand that different groups of people tend to become HIV for different reasons, Children, drug addicts, sexually active men and women are all developing AIDS in particular ways. While family groups are now becoming ill. However the most effective way to prevent transmission of HIV is to abstain or for two people who are not infected to be faithful to one another. Alternatively, the correct use of birth control devices and condom will reduce the risk significantly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@gogo

Yes, attaining a visa is not a right, but if someone has AIDS, it should not be a reason to deny them a visa. Why would it? I think that shows the lack of awareness about it with whichever government officials thought it was a good idea. It gives the perception that foreigners will just go out and spread it like it is some kind of flu virus.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I have recently read a number of articles in the Japanese press saying syphilis is increasing. One article mentioned a case where it was passed on to a baby, and that when the pregnant mother had had her tests the doctor hadn't thought to test for syphilis.

@rocketpanda " It gives the perception that foreigners will just go out and spread it like it is some kind of flu virus."

Could it also be that the Japanese government doesn't want to shoulder the costs of long term medical treatment for non permanent residents?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Suggesting condom use here is high is laughable. This is the tip of the iceburg when it comes to numbers of those infected.

I have no doubt the over 50 are male and those who visit soaplands and refuse to wrap up. Japan has itself to blame for the ignorance and growing trend. I believe Japan is the only developed nation that continues to increase in numbers each year.

1 ( +5 / -5 )

@frungy

i have no idea where you are getting your "data" from, but it seems obviously wrong:

That represents compounded annual growth of 10 per cent between 2005 and 2009. The US was the biggest market, booking $7.7bn in antiretroviral sales last year. France was the largest of the European markets, with sales of $1.1bn, while Japan was the smallest overall. In terms of patients, the number of people living with HIV across the seven major markets went from 1.4 million in 2001 to 1.8 million in 2009, with further increases expected in the coming decade. The US is forecast to hold on to first place, with Datamonitor expecting it to account for 60 per cent of sales across the seven markets in 2019. Japan is forecast to remain the smallest.

source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/big-pharma-and-the-business-of-hivaids-2147987.html

@educator60

spot on!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Probabaly due to lax immigration controls,,,,,,,,,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SimondB: It's only a low rate because so few bother to get tested. There are a few anonymous clinics out there that will allow you to get tested (if you go on the very few days and the limited time periods they are open) but no one does. Japan is pretty much the only advanced nation where AIDS is growing, and it's not really that big a surprise given the lack of preventative measures used and the absolute lack of sex-education in schools.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

rickyveeMay. 26, 2014 - 11:38AM JST i have no idea where you are getting your "data" from, but it seems obviously wrong:

Have you corrected the data for population sizes, variable pricing strategies for the medications, etc? ... yeah, I thought not. When you've done that get back to me about the "obviously wrong" bit.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Once again JT's titles suck. The title is saying that there are only 484 people in the country with aids, when the actual story is that there were 484 newly diagnosed cases.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

HIV isn't spread only through sexual contact. This trend could easily point to an increase use of dirty needles and drug use. It would make a lot more sense for the strange increase in the over 50s crowd as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@frungy

this is what you said:

Japan is the third biggest market in the world for these, accounting for 10.8% of all sales.

i showed you an article that contradicts this statement (a simple google search will reveal this fact). so i ask again, where are you getting your "facts" to support the claim above?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And in my experience, condom use here is shockingly low compared to the west.

You'd have to have a vast amount of experience to even judge what the rate of condom use in "the west" actually is. That designation covers a lot of countries in at least three continents.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It would make a lot more sense for the strange increase in the over 50s crowd as well.

It's not strange at all when you think who is visting soaplands and cheating.

Wipeout, anyone who has slept with a Western and a Japanese person is able to compare the attitudes towards condoms. The lack of sex ed here is shocking. The abortion rate is shocking. Add this to people thinking HUV and AIDS is a gaijin issue and you have a problem.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

there is little sexual education.

oneduce, I am curious how you know this. Did you complete 12 years of public education in Japan? Did you sit in for a complete Japanese sex ed course?

I have no idea how much sex ed they get in Japan. But I know for sure that Americans don't get enough, as I sat through two courses, and one on each coast. It was in high school, and it was too little too late.

In the social scene there is actually very little use of contraceptives of any kind,

Got to wonder how you "know" this too. No matter. If its AIDS one is worried about, platinum point number one is honesty. If your partners are honest in saying they don't have AIDS, at that point, you don't need to worry about sexually transmitted AIDS. Point two is if they are dating steady or taking on everyone in sight. If your partner did not have AIDS coming in and neither do you, and you both sleep with no other, then you don't have to worry about sexually transmitted AIDS unless one or both or engaged in some other risky behavior.

And if the above sounds wrong to you, remember, this is Japan and not some other country. People here tend to be honest about these things or at least stay out of the dating game. AIDS infection is low here because they are doing things that are actually more effective than condom use, in addition to at least some of them using condoms.

Japan is believed to have about 8000 cases. America, over a million with only double the population. If somebody is doing something supremely wrong, I don't think its Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Add this to people thinking HIV and AIDS is a gaijin issue and you have a problem.

This, for sure. A few years ago a young Japanese man admitted to me that in his wild Tokyo days, he'd slept with about 300 women in one year. I asked him if he'd used protection, and he replied "no, but I didn't have to worry about diseases because they were all Japanese girls."

Another lady in her late-twenties told me that if a man really trusts and loves you, then he won't bother with condoms, and that she was really flattered when her boyfriend stopped using them with her.

These attitudes are prevalent! I have dozens of stories about young and not-so-young people (university grads, all of them!) who are completely misinformed about SIDs. Everyone seems to be thinking "it'll never happen to me" or "if he pulls out in time I'll be safe" or "as long as I stay away from foreigners" and so on.

I seem to remember reading a few years ago that 10% of high-schoolers in Tokyo had tested positive for chlamydia, and that in one area, the rate was 50%. Actually I am kind of curious about whether this could be a factor in the low birth rate.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Wipeout, anyone who has slept with a Western and a Japanese person is able to compare the attitudes towards condoms.

No. A sampling of two? Ridiculous.

And people who sound off about the west really need to remind themselves - or more likely learn for the first time - how many countries, cultures, economies, and peoples are included in their sweeping (and frequently useless) generalizations.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not really ridiculous. The person gave an opinion, not a research study.

Tessa, I have heard similar things. I know many, many Japanese men who visit soaplands and have said they only use condoms with foreigner girls. When I went for an HIV test here years ago (I got tested yearly before getting married) the nurse asked what nationality I had been sleeping with. When I said Japanese she actually told me I had nothing to worry about and then asked if I wanted to go though with the test. Unreal.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Unreal.

For real! My former dentist never bothered wearing protective gloves, even though he dealt with at least three patients at a time (you know how they work here). When I delicately broached the subject with him, he said "don't worry, all my other patients are Japanese!" Duh!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No. You produce evidence that Japanese lie more than most about AIDS. Lets not talk about STDs in general here but stick with freaking kill you slowly incurable AIDS. I have heard many stories of men knowing they had AIDS infecting a bunch of women but I never heard any of them were from Japan.

YOU made the comment, YOU support it.

Just because the media doesn't talk about it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. A shame they removed the article but this was one about a guy who knowingly was infected and donated blood. Oh so honest, right? http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/several-blood-transfusion-patients-possibly-infected-after-hiv-positive-blood-slips-past-safety-tests

Have YOU ever attended sex ed classes in Japan? Take of your blinders my friend.

Tessa, I have argued with more than a few doctors and nurses when they have refused to wear gloves. Insane.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

YOU made the comment, YOU support it.

You took issue with my comment, you support that.

Or, you could realize that there is no proving it. We can go off of anecdotes only.

You have your man donating blood. I have the fact that more than 30 U.S. states have prosecuted people for intentional transmission of AIDS. I don't even think Japan has a criminal transmission of AIDS law. Look up David Lee Magnum who may have infected up to 300 people. And Phillipe Padieu of Texas and 8 women. And Nigaila Gibbs of St. Louis.

Have YOU ever attended sex ed classes in Japan?

No. But I have read about them. I remember some people got in trouble for anatomically correct dolls in elementary school. Elementary school! How does that compare to starting in high school?

Now will you please tell me how many classes you attended and what grades?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Speaking of sex-ed, I've asked dozens of middle-class, middle-aged Japanese mothers how they dealt with it, when it came to having "the talk" with their children. In a nutshell: they didn't deal with it. They expected the schools to do all that. In fact out of forty-odd mothers that I spoke with, only one (tellingly, she had been partly raised overseas) sat her kids down and gave them the straight facts along with some reading material, and assured them that they could come to her with any questions. Almost all of the other mothers either decided to leave it up to the school sytem, or bypassed "the talk" altogether ("hazukashii!" they squealed to me) in the hopes that ignorance would equal abstinence.

Anyway, I don't know much about sex-ed in the formal education system in Japan, but I do know that it had better be pretty outstanding in order to compensate for the lack of info that kids get from their parents here. Just my two yen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My wife was horrified after finding condoms in my son's room.

I was very, very happy and told him so.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@lucabrasi Good for you! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh? wink

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There is no "proving" it which is why I asked you to support your claim because you made a comment based on opinion. You don't get to make such statements and pretend they are fact and then be unable to support it if it's true. Clearly you can't support your comment which is why you can't produce any evidence. It is an opinion. One that I strongly disagree with. If people were honest, STDs and the like wouldn't be an issue here. But guess what, they are!

Right, so you have never attended a sex ed class in Japan and yet feel that you can question someone on the internet who has stated she has attended them and then on top of that, you can suggest that the classes are good even though you have never sat in on one? Are you serious? I've read about a lot of things too but that doesn't make me an expert on them. I've attend more than a few in both JHS and HS. Do I win a cookie?

We're also not talking about the US so your point is moot on that. By all means, bury your head in the sand if you like to believe the here folks are honest and educated about HIV and AIDs if you like. Not hurting me any but is certainly hurting others based on the infection rates. If so open and educated, what's with the rates rising?

Tessa, it isn't - which is why there is an STD issue, a high rate of abortion and many shotgun marriages here. I guess the "good" thing is many have zero interest in sex these days so the impact of the lack of education and "hazukashii" parents is being kept to a minimum.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Clearly you can't support your comment which is why you can't produce any evidence.

Clearly I already said that. That is for part of what you quoted.

But disagree with my beliefs why, you cannot dispute that for some reason, despite whatever you think is wrong, Japan's HIV prevalence is still among the lowest in the world.

If people were honest, STDs and the like wouldn't be an issue here.

For someone who goes on and on about proof, you sure don't offer any.

. I've attend more than a few in both JHS and HS. Do I win a cookie?

No, because its just another general statement thrown at a very specific question.

We're also not talking about the US so your point is moot on that.

Just looking for a point in space for reference. Feel free to choose another. But the fact remains, AIDS prevalence is low. Why?

If so open and educated, what's with the rates rising?

I did not say open or educated. I said honest with dating partners, not the world.

Rates rising? Yeah, when the numbers are already so low, they may rise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@smithinjapan here are a few anonymous clinics out there that will allow you to get tested (if you go on the very few days and the limited time periods they are open)

I have had more than one anonymous AIDS test in Japan. Any Health Centre ("hokensenta-") will do it for you in 15 minutes till one gets the result. As far as I remember there is no need to give ones true name, although I admit that one can be seen. I suggested to the doctor that they used a system more like that used in love hotels were one need not be seen or see the person at the reception desk - a secluded, window transparent only at waist level, rather than the requirement to go and apply at a counter in an open plan municipal office.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why do the number of AIDS and HIV increase day by day? Is the ecstasy of sex better than healthy blood? It is an unsolved problem forever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is rather disturbing that HIV infection is increasing in Japan, bucking the trend of most developed nations. Here's hoping more at-risk Japanese decide to get tested to prevent the rate of this terrible disease increasing further.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

By western standards the attitude to sex is shocking, abortion is a contraceptive, pulling out the norm, I admit the rhythm method espoused by Catholicism is just as useless in combating STDS and AIDs. Japan needs to smarten up teach and advertise safe sex. There should not be an argument about condom use outside of a long term committed relationship....perhaps a mascot would help? Condompokimon, just an idea.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Cricky - condompokimon would likely be shouted down by outraged PTA types - "Our innocent kids will be traumatized! They wouldn't even THINK of sex until they are 21!"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@gogogo

Just for interest sake, if you are a foreigner and have AIDS, (and inform the government or the hospital does) your visa wont be renewed unless you are a PR.

Are you trying to say foreigners are bringing AIDS to Japan! Wow the next thing you will say is the yellow sand from China is causing the high rate of AIDS. The point is the numbers of AIDS cases is increasing in Japan and the ignorance and the lack of or use of contraceptive by the people only increased this number. As for those 50 years and older increasing with this virus well the old men still haven't learned!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

After living in Japanfor a few years an only having sexual contact with Japanese girls I went to the doctors once for a rash in my Japanese town of 70000 people. The doctor looked at my rash and then smiled and said, don't worry it is only herpes. Everyone here has herpes.

He then prescribed me with medicine for my 'lower abdomen'. Got to love clean Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We have several claims here of Japan's infection rates rising. I do not dispute that they are, but before we get carried away and act like the situation is out of control, can anyone provide some numbers?

I looked and looked, and all I could find was HIV prevalence.

The doctor looked at my rash and then smiled and said, don't worry it is only herpes. Everyone here has herpes.

The virgins mostly don't. Same is true for lots of other countries concerning HPV related infections. There was a herpes scare campaign in America and it seems its effects still reverberate. The thing about herpes is that its only people with weak immune systems or certain triggers who show repeated outbreaks. In most of us, we get an outbreak once and then the virus goes dormant. If you are not willing to risk herpes the only real solution is be a virgin for life.

But, by all means, go to a non-Japanese doctor and see what they say. They may make a more concerned presentation, but the end actions will be the same nothing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The age bracket of "50 years and older" I think speaks volumes.

I wonder if blood products are still an infection route.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We have several claims here of Japan's infection rates rising. I do not dispute that they are, but before we get carried away and act like the situation is out of control, can anyone provide some numbers?

Um, read the article? This isn't a "claim", it's research. Hence what the entire article is about. The reality as being reported by the government FFS. Denial or what?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When you visit a hospital and are required to give a blood sample for testing, the sample will also be tested for HIV/Aids.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When you visit a hospital and are required to give a blood sample for testing, the sample will also be tested for HIV/Aids.

That's good to know. A few years ago I had a minor operation in a public hospital, my blood was tested for various diseases (including syphillis, HIV and HPV) and the results were sent to my home ... on a postcard!

I appreciate the low-cost and generally efficient healthcare system here, but surely there is some room for discretion!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Zichi, I heard that too but then was told it was too expensive so they don't do this - only donated blood is screened. Would be good to ask next time I have a blood test - though that might freak them out!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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