A SENIOR official says 'openness' is to blame for the high HIV rate in Guangdong. The Ministry of Health's General Director, Dr Cao Ronggui, said the three worst affected areas were Yunnan, Guangxi and Guangdong. Dr Cao said most of those infected in Guangdong had contracted the disease through sexual intercourse, while intravenous drug use was mainly to blame in Yunnan and Guangxi. He said the booming drug trafficking activities in the two provinces, which border Laos, were putting people at risk. 'At prevention level, education and propaganda should be strengthened and better management is needed in the AIDS-prone areas,' said Dr Cao. China has diagnosed 1,774 people as HIV carriers, of whom 60 per cent are aged between 16 and 29. But specialists say the real number of Chinese infected with HIV could be more than 10,000. Officials have warned that China's largely unscreened blood supply could push the number of HIV carriers to 266,000 by the year 2000. According to the latest figures, 65 HIV carriers had developed AIDS and 45 had died by the end of 1994.