Chinese Man’s Online AIDS Diary Causing ‘Controversy’
The online diary of Li Jiaming, a man who claims to have contracted HIV last September from a "single act of unprotected" intercourse with a sex worker, has "stirred up controversy" in China, where the disease could affect as many as 10 million by 2010 if preventive measures are not taken, Agence France-Presse/Nando Times reports. Li, who uses a pseudonym to protect his identity from his family, chronicles his fight with AIDS on Rongshu.com, a site that attracted media attention last year for hosting the "Death Diary" of Lu Youqing, who was dying of cancer. The AIDS diary, which receives 600 hits per day, has drawn both "strong criticism" and "emotional pledges of support" from visitors. Some said they have "little sympathy" for Li because of the way in which he contracted HIV, while others said that the account has sent an AIDS "warning like an earthquake" through China, which still has problems conducting public discussions about sex, Agence France Presse/Nando Times reports. Only 3% of Chinese know how HIV is transmitted, according to a government survey conducted earlier this year. "I am very happy we are raising awareness about AIDS. This is more effective than hundreds of newspaper articles because it is a personal story," Rongshu.com founder William Zhu said. But the Shanghai Xinmin Weekly questioned the authenticity of the story earlier this month, calling the diaries "hearsay" because no one, not even the Web site's editors, knows who Li is (Morarjee, Agence France-Presse/Nando Times, 9/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.