A five-year project will be launched next year to significantly raise condom
usage among gays to curb the rising number of HIV/AIDS infections, a top
official has said.
"Prevention efforts among gays will be
key to the country's AIDS control. They need collaboration between government
departments and grassroots organizations," said Wu Zunyou, director of the AIDS
prevention bureau affiliated to the Chinese Disease Prevention and Control
Students at a primary school in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province,
display their hand-made red ribbons "an international symbol of AIDS
awareness" yesterday on the eve of World AIDS Day. China had 650,000 HIV
carriers, including 75,000 AIDS patients at the end of last year,
according to the government estimates. [China Daily]
The target is to raise condom usage to 70 per cent, said Wu. A survey
covering 526 gays in Beijing shows only 20 per cent use protection all the time.
Gay sex contributed to 7.3 per cent of reported infections nationwide,
according to the CDC. The main causes are drug users sharing needles and unsafe
In the first 10 months of the year, 39,644 people were officially reported to
have been infected with HIV, the Ministry of Health said last week. While a
total of 183,733 people have been officially reported to have contracted HIV,
the ministry estimated the actual figure at the end of last year to be around
The ministry also estimates that at least 1 per cent of the country's 5-10
million sexually-active gay people in the 18-49 age group have contracted
Many gays, out of societal pressure, choose to marry women. "This has led to
the risk of them spreading the disease to people around them," Wu said on
Wednesday during an online interview on www.sohu.com conducted in conjunction
with today's World AIDS Day.
Also, the CDC and the AIDS Intervention Centre in Beijing's Chaoyang District
will jointly launch a project next year on prevention through peer education
among gays. The project will be replicated in five cities every year.
It will record personal information such as age, profession, feelings, health
condition, condom usage and reaction towards discrimination.
Under the project, free medical treatment will be provided to gays with
sexually transmitted diseases or infected with HIV, and help offered in finding
jobs and fighting discrimination.
Starting this month, the Chaoyang District intervention centre will offer
free medical checks regularly to gays in Beijing, reportedly home to 300,000 gay
people with 3 per cent of them infected with HIV.
To promote safe sex, one of the country's leading condom-makers has launched
a custom-made condom for gays.
Tao Ran, manager of Gobon Condom Factory in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Region, said that the company would employ a special marketing strategy
involving gay volunteers and online sales to promote the product.
In addition to these efforts, some AIDS experts see a more tolerant society
as a cornerstone for ensuring the mental and physical health of gays.
According to Zhang Beichuan, a professor on AIDS studies at Qingdao
University, many free medical projects are shunned by gays because of social
"If the governments are more tolerant towards them, the projects will attract
more gay people for medical treatment, which in turn will benefit the whole
society," said Zhang.
He proposed that legal marriages be allowed among gays and a special law
banning discrimination enacted.
A recent survey conducted by Zhang, covering 2,000 gays in nine cities, shows
that 60 per cent of them suffer from the fact they are gays; and 10 per cent
were so badly affected they wanted to take their own lives.
The reasons for contemplating suicide included broken relationships with gay
partners, social discrimination and unhappy marriages with