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International News

China: Almanac of Safe Sex Targets Cross-Border Travelers

February 18, 2003

A safe sex almanac distributed to cross-border travelers in China reflects an effort to reduce the growing rate of AIDS in Hong Kong. The 48-page booklet is proving popular, according to AIDS Concern, the group behind the publication. The style of the red booklet is copied from the tung sing fortune calendar. "When Chinese need to choose a good day for a wedding or for any celebration, they will check this tung sing," said Margaret Pang Wai-man, AC's prevention officer. "The style of this booklet is very familiar to Chinese and they would perceive it as good luck if they can get one," Pang said.

About 3,000 booklets have been distributed over the past three weeks, targeting cross-border truck drivers and frequent travelers. But women were also attracted to the booklet because of the humorous and down-to-earth message, said Pang. "When we first started to distribute them, the women would be embarrassed. Some threw the booklet back at us. But lately more women are coming to get a booklet, reflecting their greater awareness of AIDS." A total of 35,000 booklets were printed on a $55,000 grant from the AIDS Trust Fund.

Instead of fortunes, the book includes information to dispel AIDS myths, a limerick about how to put on a condom, service hotline numbers and a tongue-in-cheek Chinese horoscope about safe sex practices. Pang said the text was based on AC's outreach with truck drivers, who felt that the message of AIDS prevention went over their heads. "About 75 percent of the drivers still use condoms wrongly. They have misconceptions, such as that having sex with factory workers is safer than hiring prostitutes, or that ugly women are cleaner than pretty ones," said Pang. "They also think that just by looking at the women, they would know whether they are HIV-infected or not."

A record 260 new HIV infections were registered in Hong Kong last year.

Back to other CDC news for February 18, 2003

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Adapted from:
South China Morning Post
02.10.03; Mary Ann Benitez



  
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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.
 

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