More than half of the sex workers in Beijing do not use condoms, AFP reports. According to the Chinese state media, sexual transmission has replaced drug use as the most common route for HIV infection.

Of the 90,000 sex workers in the city, only 47 percent used condoms, said Fang Laiying, director of the municipal public health bureau. China had about 700,000 people living with HIV at the end of 2007. That estimate includes about 85,000 people with AIDS. Activists contend that the real numbers could be 10 times higher.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, free condoms are provided in 22,000 locations in China’s capital, including holiday resorts and hotels. About 3,000 condom vending machines are available in entertainment sites.

During the 1990s, thousands of people were infected through transfusions at illegal blood collection stations. Currently, the focus has shifted to high-risk groups such as sex workers and gay men.