Report Says Sex Now Primary Cause of China HIV Spread
August 20, 2007
State-controlled media today reported that unsafe sex has eclipsed injection drug use as the main HIV transmission route in China. The China Daily article cited a Ministry of Health and China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCP) study. "It's the first time since 1989, when the first HIV infection was detected, for sex to top the transmission list nationwide," Gao Qi, of the China HIV/AIDS Information Network, was quoted as saying.
Of the 70,000 new HIV cases reported in 2005, almost half were contracted though sex, China Daily reported. The figures suggest AIDS is moving from high-risk groups to the general public, the newspaper said.
While China has become increasingly open about HIV/AIDS, efforts to combat the disease continue to be stymied by conservative attitudes toward sex and by suspicion of nongovernmental organizations and community-based activists.
Surveys indicate that one in 10 sexually active men in China has visited a prostitute, said China Daily. In response, the government has initiated condom promotion and AIDS education among sex workers. It is also targeting prevention efforts to gay men, who comprise 7.3 percent of new, sexually acquired infections, the paper noted.
According to a separate survey conducted by CCDCP, Chinese teenagers are having sex at an earlier age, and 40 percent did not use a condom the first time. "They know little about HIV/AIDS, let alone prevention measures," An Jiaao of the center's National Institute for Health Education told the newspaper.
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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.