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AIDS experts: 'Mobile men with money' risky
By Luo Man (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-02 06:15

SHANGHAI: It is feared well-off and upwardly mobile business people in China's largest cities may be contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS - and many do not even know they are infected.

Health workers in Hefei, Anhui Province, distribute HIV/AIDS prevention pamphlets before beauty salons and massage parlours where prostitutes are maybe available. Experts say although a large portion of China's infections are  the result of tainted blood donations or transfusions, and later intravenous drug use, most new cases are now the result of unprotected sex. [newsphoto]
Figures are sketchy but "mobile men with money," as experts have dubbed the group, are a growing concern as the country battles to halt the epidemic. 

"There is an emerging division in the business. There's starting to be people who work on mobile men with money," said Tim Manchester, director of Futures Group, a private organization that focuses on preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

What HIV/AIDS professionals are wondering - as are doctors at government-funded organizations such as the centre of disease control and hospitals in Shanghai - is whether mobile men with money will prove to be a gateway for the disease into large cities.

"That's everybody's concern, that it's a bridge population," said Manchester. "We are not seeing that yet because the testing is not there yet."

A possible scenario is that of a businessman who does not use condoms and even pays extra for a prostitute who ignores the risk to earn more money but is infected, whether she knows it or not. He becomes infected and then passes the infection to his wife who goes on with her life completely unaware of the disease she is carrying.
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