News / Asia

China Marks World AIDS Day

Passerby pick up condoms during an AIDS awareness event held by local community on the World AIDS Dayin Shanghai, China. December 1, 2011.
Passerby pick up condoms during an AIDS awareness event held by local community on the World AIDS Dayin Shanghai, China. December 1, 2011.

Chinese authorities are openly marking World AIDS Day this year, but the government remains sensitive to independent groups that try to combat the spread of the disease.

China more open about AIDS epidemic

Compared with a decade ago when China was highly secretive about its AIDS epidemic, World Aids Day has become a major highlight of the Communist Party's health awareness drive.

State media have been covering the day with lengthy editorials and statistics which accompany reports about the government's plans to fight the spread of AIDS in its flagship five-year plan.

The Ministry of Health and UNAIDS estimate about 780,000 people will be living with HIV/AIDS in China by the end of this year. That means about 40,000 people became infected in the past year.

Most new infections results from sex


The statistics indicate nearly 82 percent of infections resulted from sex.

Guy Taylor is a Program Associate with the UNAIDS office in China. He says around a third of those new infections are from homosexual transmissions. "There are some worrying trends in the epidemic, particularly the rapid growth of the high levels of prevalence amounts of men who have sex with men. Nationwide it is around five percent, which is 90 times higher than the prevalence among the general population,” he noted.

He says that while that overall trend is worrying, there are isolated places where the infection rates are even higher. "In some cities it is one in five," Taylor said. "Or more than one in five."

AIDS, breaking down the social sigma

Taylor says other countries are suffering a similar rise among gay men. But discrimination and ignorance about the disease means many of those infected men fail to have tests.

He says one of the best ways to break down the social stigma of the disease in China and encourage more people to undergo tests and treatment is at independent clinics and advice centers.

"We think it important in China to strengthen participation of community based organizations, as they can represent these communities and understand their needs more. These affected populations are less reluctant to come into contact with them because they trust them and they maybe understand them better," Taylor stated.

Despite its efforts to combat the disease, Beijing is still highly sensitive about AIDS as well as the influence of independent groups that cater to the afflicted.

Speaking out too loudly about the government's controversial AIDS policy in China can result in intimidation, arrest and disappearance.

Non-government organizations are routinely banned or restricted and activists locked up, including Hu Jia, who was jailed for three and half years for speaking out.

Activists Wan Yanhai and elderly campaigner Gao Yaojie both suffered intimidation from the Chinese government and now live in exile in the United States

Hu, who was released from jail in June, was last week prevented from handing over a compensation claim to the health ministry on behalf of an AIDS patient who became inflected via a blood transfusion.

Poor screening measures at hospitals and clinics means thousands of Chinese contract AIDS when they give or receive blood.

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

update US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid