China Expects 48,000 New HIV Cases This Year

State media say China will have about 780,000 people infected with the AIDS virus by the end of this year, with most having contracted it through heterosexual sex.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that a new report from the Ministry of Health and the United Nations estimates there will be about 48,000 new HIV infections in China this year.

Xinhua quoted the report as saying that the virus remains "mildly prevalent" in China.

HIV gained a foothold in China largely because of unsanitary blood plasma buying schemes and tainted transfusions in hospitals. Health authorities say sex has now overtaken drug abuse as the main channel of transmission.