The AIDS virus is spreading rapidly in China, with an estimated 500,000 Chinese infected, state-run newspapers reported September 8, 2000. Most are rural villagers using drugs, according to the reports. Testing has confirmed that 18,000 Chinese have the AIDS virus, HIV, leading health experts to project that all told, more than a half million may be infected, the Beijing Daily and other newspapers reported. HIV has been spreading in China, with cases rising about 40% a year. The communist government, at first slow to react, has in recent years increased testing and tried to raise public awareness. Alarmed at the latest figures, advisers to the State Council, China's Cabinet, met September 7, 2000, urging that regulations on AIDS prevention be speeded up and appealing to all society to work together to stop the disease, the reports said. Three quarters of the AIDS sufferers are between 18 and 39 years old. 70% contracted the disease through drug use and most live in rural China, the Beijing Daily said, citing Shen Jie of the Health Ministry's infectious disease department.