New data show the number of HIV infections confirmed in Japan last year dropped nearly 20 percent from a year earlier. The health ministry attributes the decline to a fall in HIV testing due to the coronavirus pandemic, and says the actual figure could be higher.
Preliminary figures released by the ministry show 740 people were found to be infected with the HIV virus in 2020 at public health centers and medical institutions across the country. That's down 163, or 18 percent, from the previous year.
The number of people tested was less than half the figure from a year before, at about 69,000. Ministry officials say this is because many public health centers suspended HIV testing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of infections confirmed in tests required for blood donation rose for the first time in six years to 0.876 per 100,000 people.
The health ministry is calling on people to go to medical institutions or public health centers where tests are available, if they think they may be infected with HIV.