In a widely publicized gesture to mark World AIDS day, President Hu Jintao visited patients suffering from the virus at a Beijing hospital. The move was seen as part of an effort to break widespread prejudices over the disease, with recent surveys showing public awareness about the virus and how it is transmitted to be extremely low. The visit came as officials warned that the actual number of HIV positive Chinese may be far higher than official figures indicate, with many people unknowingly carrying the virus. Photographs of Hu shaking hands with patients in the Beijing hospital appeared in most major newspapers and news websites. It was believed to be the first time a Chinese president had been seen having physical contact with someone known to have the disease.