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China conducts first survey on homosexuals and AIDS
Updated: 2004-07-27 11:39

An unprecedented survey on homosexuals and homosexual HIV carriers is being carried out in northeastern China, as the country struggles to contain AIDS.

Medical personnel wait to distribute drugs for treatment at an HIV/AIDS clinic in Wenlou. An unprecedented survey on homosexuals and homosexual HIV carriers is being carried out in northeastern China. [AFP]
The Heilongjiang province Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has collected 1,300 questionnaires from the Internet, with the help of a website dedicated to AIDS issues, on the proportion of homosexuals and homosexual HIV carriers in society, Xinhua state news agency said Monday.

It has also collected 270 urine and 50 blood samples from homosexuals.

The centre has teamed up with www.aixinsky.com because it is difficult to find people who are willing to openly take part in a survey about homosexuality and AIDS.

AIDS is still a taboo subject in China, although since Premier Wen Jiabao shook hands with an AIDS patient this year there has been increased awareness about the disease.

Wen admitted this month at a global AIDS conference that HIV/AIDS had spread to every sector of Chinese society and called for stepped up efforts to combat the deadly scourge.

The data collected in Heilongjiang "will be an important reference to the prevention and control on AIDS of the nation," the report said, quoting Wu Yuhua, deputy head of the provincial disease and virus control institute.

"Those HIV carriers found in the survey will be given timely treatment and care," he said.

The survey, part of a China-US programme on the prevention and control of AIDS, is aimed at improving the monitoring, prevention and control of AIDS in China.

According to government estimates, 840,000 people are HIV-positive in China, although independent groups, including the United Nations, warn the number could jump to 10 million infected by 2010 if not urgent action is taken.

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