More Than 80% of MSM in China Know Little About HIV/AIDS, Survey Shows
More than 80% of men who have sex with men in China are "totally ignorant" about their risk of contracting HIV and "mistakenly believe they are safe from HIV/AIDS," according a survey conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 12/14). According to the survey -- the first the Chinese CDC has conducted among MSM -- 31.7% of Chinese MSM have one to 10 sex partners and 22.2% have had more than 100 partners, according to AFP/Hindustan Times. Lu Fan, head of the Chinese CDC, said that MSM represent 2% to 4% of the sexually active Chinese adult male population and that about 1.35% of them are HIV-positive (AFP/Hindustan Times, 12/14). The survey estimated that the number of HIV/AIDS cases among Chinese MSM is expected to "skyrocket" because of ignorance about the disease, unprotected sexual activity and sex with multiple partners, according to the Associated Press (Bodeen, Associated Press, 12/15). According to the survey, 17.4% of Chinese MSM have had female sex partners, and 12.6% are married. Many MSM in China "shy away" from disclosing that they have sex with men because of fear of discrimination, according to AFP/Hindustan Times (AFP/Hindustan Times, 12/14). "The gay community is one of the most vulnerable groups, but they have long been ignored in China," Lu said. Wan Yanhai, an AIDS advocate in Beijing, said, "Gays have been completely ignored," adding, "There are no legal protections or even definitions for them. They've been left out of the list of marginalized groups targeted for help" (Associated Press, 12/15). Lu urged Chinese health authorities and the Chinese public to adopt "more balanced" views on MSM and make HIV/AIDS information more available (AFP/Hindustan Times, 12/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.