China's Youngsters Think Mosquitoes Spread AIDS
November 1, 2002
China's young people are grossly unaware of how HIV is spread, with many mistakenly believing that people can contract the disease from mosquito bites, according to a survey published Thursday. The study was conducted earlier this year by the Beijing University Children and Young Adults Hygiene Research Institute and UNICEF on 2,062 students from four middle schools in China's capital.
Two-thirds of secondary school students surveyed in Beijing did not know that mosquitoes do not transmit HIV, and half were unaware that proper use of condoms can reduce the risk of contracting AIDS, the Beijing Xinbao newspaper said. The study also found that more than 40 percent of the teenagers did not know HIV can be spread through homosexual intercourse. Three-quarters of the students did not know that those infected with HIV might not show any obvious signs of the illness.
An earlier study found that many students and parents wanted to know more about AIDS, the report said. Parents in that study requested that middle and high schools give students AIDS prevention education. As a result of the study, Beijing's education department has asked all secondary schools to begin teaching AIDS awareness this autumn as part of the school curriculum.
China has long denied it has a problem with HIV/AIDS and identified drug users and homosexual as the only carriers of the virus. But in September, in an unusually frank assessment, a top Beijing health official warned that 10 million Chinese could be infected by HIV by the end of the decade.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.