UNDP Calls on Chinese Media, Private Companies To Increase Efforts Aimed at Fighting HIV/AIDS Discrimination
The United Nations Development Programme recently called on China's commercial media and private business sectors to increase their efforts to fight HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in the country, Xinhuanet reports. "In order to break the stifling cycle of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, the influence of commercial media and advertisement sector on society needs to be productively harnessed," Subinay Nandy, director of UNDP China, said.
Stigma and discrimination have been "significant obstacles" to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programs in China, Xinhuanet reports. A survey conducted earlier this year at 12 Beijing universities considered to be some of the most progressive in the country found that nearly 25% of students would oppose having HIV-positive classmates. The survey also found that 4% of respondents said people should be refused jobs based on their HIV status.
"Commercial media is a major source of information for the general public with strong and persistent influences on people's behavior and attitudes," Ru Xiaomei, an official with the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said, adding, "They should be the main force in our fight against AIDS." According to Marilyn Zhu, director of MTV China, the channel recently has aired several daily, one-minute HIV/AIDS advertisements on prime-time television. Filip Noubel, country director for Internews Network, said the media still has not saturated the public with HIV/AIDS awareness messages, adding that it should introduce more humanity and personality to HIV/AIDS efforts.
"Everyone is responsible for fighting AIDS," Tang Lixin -- president of EPIN Media, which plays HIV/AIDS ads on more than 300 trains in China -- said, adding, "A company should not avoid its social responsibilities." Henk Bekedam, representative for the World Health Organization's Office in China, said 28% of the country's population is fully aware of HIV/AIDS. China officially reported 183,733 HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, but experts estimate there are likely 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country (Xinhuanet, 8/2).