China: Beijing Starts Promoting Condom Use to Fight HIV/AIDS
November 23, 2004
In what AIDS activists are calling a new initiative, advertisements that promote condom use and advise against risky sex are being placed in Beijing public venues and nightspots. The prominent displays appear ahead of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, and are a response to the nation's 40 percent annual increase in HIV/AIDS.Adapted from:
More than 40 billboards were set up along both sides of Beijing's Bar Street. Last month, the city placed two condom-dispensing machines on each end of Sanlitun Street in addition to five free condom dispensers in bars. An additional 100 such machines will be deployed by year-end, Xinhua News Agency reported officials as saying.
"I've never seen condom machines or AIDS-prevention billboards in Sanlitun," said Hu Jia, a city AIDS activist.
In 1998, China's inaugural condom advertisement -- affixed to 80 buses in southern Guangzhou -- was aborted after only 33 days. In 1999, a condom promotion broadcast on China's largest television network, CCTV, was cancelled after one day. Last month, however, six ministries jointly issued a report urging more public AIDS-prevention ads in shopping and recreational areas, ports, and airports. Eighty-three ads will go up in airports nationwide; the city has 80 prevention posters in subway stations and about 600 ads on subway trains.
A State Administration for Industry and Commerce advertising ban on family planning products still exists, "but condom ads that are aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS are allowed, with most of them focused around this period," said an official with China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite assurances that users would retain their privacy and not be arrested, a needle-exchange program set up in Beijing last month has yet to see a single client. Suspicion persists because injection-drug users are often jailed or sent to labor camps. Next week, the city will begin offering IDUs methadone treatment, which experts believe will be more effective.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.