Beijing Gay Venues Join AIDS Intervention Campaign
June 14, 2007
Nineteen popular gay entertainment venues in Beijing -- bars, massage parlors, and health clubs -- have signed up for the Beijing Anti-AIDS Association for MSM (men who have sex with men) Venues, a group started on May 31 by AIDS prevention organizations in Chaoyang District. The venues will distribute HIV/AIDS prevention pamphlets and dispense advice on safe sex.
"As far as we know, such venues are already frequented by HIV-infected gays," said Xiao Dong of the Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group. He said the association will provide HIV/AIDS prevention training for venue owners and staff, who will in turn try to educate their customers about the importance of HIV testing.
Ma Xiaoyan, with the Beijing municipal disease prevention and control center, said the city has seen more sexually transmitted cases of HIV among gays. "The HIV infection rate through gay sex was 1.5 percent in 2004, but it rose to 6.9 percent in Beijing last year," Ma said, adding that the age of HIV patients is falling. Ma blamed the increase on low condom use and frequent sex with multiple partners.
Noting that only half the 39 venues contacted have joined, Xiao urged more businesses to sign up.
Official figures show China has 5 million to 10 million gay men, but some experts estimate the homosexual population at around 50 million. The HIV infection rate is estimated to be 1-4 percent among gay men, the second-largest high-risk group after drug users.
Official statistics show that among the 650,000 Chinese HIV/AIDS patients, 44.3 percent contracted the disease through drug injection, 10.7 through blood transfusions and 43.6 percent through unsafe sex.
Xinhua News Agency