Knowledge and Awareness of HIV/AIDS Remain Low in China, Survey Finds
Knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS and its transmission remain low in China, and considerable stigma surrounding the disease still exists in the country, according to a survey released on Friday by Beijing's Renmin University, AFP/Yahoo! News reports.
For the study, Renmin researchers, supported by UNAIDS, interviewed 6,000 people in six Chinese cities. The survey found that less than one-fifth of respondents said they would use a condom if they had a sex with a new partner. More than 63% said they would be unwilling to accept services such as hairdressing from an HIV-positive person, and more than 41% said they would be unwilling to work with someone living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, more than 48% of respondents thought they could contract HIV from a mosquito bite.
AFP/Yahoo! News reports that in recent years China has scaled up its HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and in February launched the first program focused on men who have sex with men. However, one of the nation's most prominent HIV/AIDS advocates, Hu Jia, has been jailed by authorities for allegedly attempting to subvert state power. According to UNAIDS, there are about 700,000 HIV-positive people in China, with an estimated 50,000 new HIV infections in 2007. Some HIV/AIDS advocates have said the figures could be up to 10 times higher because many cases are not reported and testing is not common throughout the country (AFP/Yahoo! News, 9/26).
Health Ministry Cites Sexual Activity Main Mode of HIV Transmission in China
In related news, a report released on Thursday from China's Ministry of Health found that sexual activity has surpassed injection drug use as the main cause of HIV transmission in the country, Xinhuanet reports. According to the report, the ratio of sexually transmitted infections has risen steadily, and there is a low rate of condom use in the country (Xinhuanet, 9/26).