HIV/AIDS Prevention Among MSM in China Remains a Challenge, Health Official Says
Preventing the spread of HIV among men who have sex with men remains a challenge for the Chinese government, Wang Yu, chief of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Wednesday, China Daily reports. The United Nations and the Asian Development Bank in a recent report said the number of HIV cases in China is rising faster than the average number in most Asia-Pacific countries despite efforts by the government.
According to Wang, more than half of the new HIV cases reported in the country this year as of June were among MSM and commercial sex workers. He did not disclose how many cases had been reported so far this year but said that there are 60,000 to 70,000 new cases reported annually in the country.
MSM are "one of the high-risk groups vulnerable" to HIV transmission and account for nearly 25% of new cases, Wang said, adding that China's "prevention efforts among them have done nearly nothing to stem the rate" of transmission. He said it is difficult to reach MSM because of stigma. According to Wang, preventing the spread of HIV among MSM is crucial because it is "very common for them to spread [HIV] to their families." Wang said that health officials still are working on a package of measures aimed at MSM. He added that officials are training volunteers and "sending them out to spread" awareness in the MSM community (Fu, China Daily, 10/18).