LIFE> Health
HIV/AIDS prejudice still rife, study finds
By Li Aoxue (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-31 10:41

A survey taken in six major cities in China shows that most adults discriminate against HIV/AIDS sufferers.

The survey, from February to March, was conducted by Renmin University of China with financial and technical support from UNAIDS.

The survey covered 6,000 people and 30 percent said children suffering from HIV/AIDS should not be allowed to attend school, 65 percent were not willing to stay in the same room as a sufferer, and 48 percent would not share a meal with them. "HIV/AIDS discrimination must be eliminated in order to encourage sufferers to seek treatment," Edwin Cameron, a South African AIDS prevention expert, said.

Bernhard Schwartlander, United Nations country coordinator on HIV/AIDS in Beijing, said the virus is not unmanageable medically, and people seeking treatment can keep it under control.

However, some people refuse to seek treatment, because they are afraid to let others know of their illness.

"People I have encountered in China have told me they suffer from discrimination, and some of them have stopped in the middle of treatment," Cameron said.

"People die from it and I think it is a tragedy as the Chinese government provides good programs."

The treatment in China covers all 31 provincial regions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS can decrease globally with proper and timely treatment.

The WHO in an earlier forecast said there would be about 6.5 million deaths from HIV/AIDS in 2030 worldwide, but it has now revised the figure to 1.2 million, because of the use of high active antiretroviral therapy in developing countries