Beijing Health Bureau Orders Hotels To Provide Condoms in Guest Rooms by End of 2008
The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau recently ordered all hotels in the city to provide condoms in all guest rooms by the end of 2008 in an effort to curb the spread of HIV, Reuters reports (Reuters, 11/23).
The Regulation on AIDS Prevention and Control, which was issued by China's State Council in January 2006, urges all public places to provide condoms or condom vending machines (ANI/Yahoo! News, 11/24). The health bureau in recent years has been urging hotel officials to provide condoms in guest rooms, and 133 of Beijing's 700 hotels already are doing so, according to local government statistics. Hotels will be permitted to charge customers for the condoms and can determine the cost per condom (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/24).
Beijing health authorities recorded 973 new HIV/AIDS cases between January and October, a 54% increase over the same time period in 2006. The majority of new cases were transmitted sexually or through injection drug use, Reuters reports (Reuters, 11/23). Beijing by the end of October had recorded 4,663 HIV/AIDS cases since 1998, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/24).
Large Numbers of HIV-Positive People in Central China Developing AIDS
In related news, a large number of HIV-positive people in central China have developed AIDS despite receiving access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs, Chen Zhiwei, director of the AIDS Institute at the University of Hong Kong, said Thursday, Reuters Health reports. According to Chen, resistance to first-line antiretrovirals is fueling the increase in AIDS cases.
Chen did not specify which provinces in central China are affected. He said that researchers since 2003 have been "trying to understand" why the number of AIDS cases has increased despite the availability of no-cost treatment for low-income people.
According to Reuters Health, second-line antiretrovirals are not widely available and are expensive in China. Chinese pharmaceutical companies also are unable to produce lower-cost versions of second-line drugs because of patent laws. Advocates have said that although some HIV-positive people can afford to purchase second-line antiretrovirals from other countries, others develop AIDS because they are unable to access treatment.
The AIDS Institute will work to curb the spread of the disease in China and Hong Kong, Chen said (Reuters Health, 11/23).