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AIDS/HIV News Archive: CHINA


Chinese law addresses AIDS for first time ever in legal amendments 29/8/04 -- Agency France Presse

China's lawmakers have addressed the AIDS threat directly for the first time ever in a sign the government hopes to curb the disease before it becomes an epidemic. Amendments to the law on infectious diseases urge officials at all levels to step up the control of AIDS and take measures to prevent the spread of the disease, the Xinhua news agency reported. They were signed by President Hu Jintao after being passed by the national legislature over the weekend, according to the agency. The amendments also emphasize the need to help areas that are too poor to fund a healthcare system that effectively prevents diseases and treats people already infected, the agency reported. "Lack of adequate funds has undermined contagious disease prevention and control capabilities of organizations entrusted with the tasks," Vice Minister of Health Gao Qiang was quoted as saying. "Due to the lack of money, some patients could not receive timely, effective and formal treatment and became new sources of infection," he said, according to the agency. The amended law also strengthens requirements imposed on blood donation centers following a series of scandals in recent years in which people were infected with HIV/AIDS after selling blood under highly unsanitary conditions. The official number of HIV carriers in China is 840,000, a figure that has been left unchanged for nearly a year and has probably grown steeply since then. State-run media have warned that unless China takes urgent action it could end up with 12 million HIV patients by 2010.


Beijing schoolchildren face compulsory AIDS education 6/21/04 -- Jia Hepeng

Secondary schools in China's capital, Beijing, will soon be required to provide children with compulsory HIV/AIDS education. And schools in other Chinese cities are set to follow suit, according to officials at the Ministry of Education. Beijing's municipal commission of education announced last week that the HIV/AIDS courses for secondary school students would begin this autumn. There will be four hours of HIV/AIDS-related education during each of the first three years of secondary education. Courses will cover the science of HIV/AIDS, how it spreads within populations, the social and economic threats of the disease, and information about effective disease prevention. Beijing's move follows recommendations by the education ministry that teaching on drug control and HIV/AIDS prevention should be strengthened during basic education. And on 9 May 2004, the State Council - China's cabinet - demanded that secondary schools across the country should add education on HIV/AIDS prevention to their normal courses. By the end of 2003, China had reported 840,000 HIV/AIDS carriers and patients. But researchers estimate that without effective control, that number will reach 10 million by 2010.


AIDS Prevention Targets High-Risk Activities 4/12/04 -- China Daily

China's Minister of Health recently announced intervention measures to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS via prostitution and intravenous drug use, the nation's two main routes of HIV transmission. The measures include free condom distribution at entertainment venues and provision of clean syringes or methadone treatment for IV drug users, according to Hao Yang, director of the ministry's HIV/AIDS Division. The strategies have already been undertaken in pilot trials in some regions over the past few years. The central government vowed to support the measures. In a recently released document, the State Council urged health, public security and other department officials to work more closely to prevent the spread of AIDS. The document stressed for the first time that HIV/AIDS prevention and control would be key indices for evaluating the achievements of local officials.


Free Condoms for Valentine Cinemagoers in Shanghai 2/03/04 -- Agence France Presse

Film buffs can pick up free condoms at the Broadband International Cineplex in Shanghai's Times Square on Saturday in honor of Valentine's Day. Many welcomed the gesture but some in still-conservative China decried it. The Cineplex will make 3,000 condoms available and allow customers to help themselves. "We believe in a developed city like Shanghai that condoms are no longer a taboo for our customers," said an employee. "Providing condoms supports a healthy and secured sex life and can arouse awareness about safe sex and AIDS prevention.


AIDS Spreading in South China 1/02/04 -- Agence France Presse

HIV/AIDS is spreading in southern China, with some 110 of Guangdong province's 122 cities and counties now reporting HIV patients. The findings, disclosed at an AIDS prevention and control meeting in the provincial capital Guangzhou on Wednesday, showed that Guangdong now has an estimated 30,000 HIV cases. The number of female patients has increased by 11.8 percent over the past year. Because condom use is very low in Guangdong, HIV is widely found among prostitutes there. Yao Zhibin, director of Guangdong's health department, said the province will work to promote condom use while establishing care and monitoring centers in an effort to control the epidemic.


AIDS Research Center Opens in Beijing 11/13/03 -- Xinhua News Agency

The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Beijing Union Medical College opened an AIDS research center Tuesday in Beijing. Former President Bill Clinton, on hand for the event, called the center's opening an important step in AIDS prevention, control and research. Gao Quiang, executive vice minister of public health, expressed hope that the center would work closely with international research agencies. The academy and the college have become crucial sites for the treatment of AIDS patients. Professor Wang Aixia of the college diagnosed China's first AIDS patient in 1985.


China Health Minister Official Puts HIV/AIDS Patients at 840,000 11/6/03 -- Agence France Presse

China's Executive Minister of Health Gao Giang announced Thursday that the nation has 840,000 HIV/AIDS patients, and that around 150,000 patients have died of the disease since 1985, according to the state China News Service. The infections, Gao said, were mostly contracted through unsanitary blood transfusions in the central provinces of Anhui and Henan during 1993-1995. "If we don't step up control efforts, then in a few years the numbers will really surprise people," said Gao. The minister's estimate represents .06 percent of China's population. The comments were seen as the most authoritative estimate of HIV/AIDS numbers in China by a leading official, in the absence of an official report. In 2001, the World Health Organization estimated that there were 1 million people with HIV/AIDS in China. Chinese nongovernmental AIDS awareness groups have estimated the number of carriers exceeds 1 million in Henan and Anhui alone. China invested about $300 million in revamping blood transfusion stations throughout China starting in 1995, said Gao.


HIV-Positive Couple Make History in China 4/08/03 -- Reuters

A HIV-positive couple has wed publicly for the first time in China in a ceremony widely reported in state newspapers, a sign more sufferers may be ready to tackle rampant discrimination. Doctors and AIDS activists said the couple's openness in allowing the press to cover their wedding would help fight discrimination and boost AIDS prevention in China, which says it has around 1 million HIV sufferers. Cao Xueliang, 37, and his bride Wang Daiying, 34, traded vows at a wedding banquet in their native town of Gongmin in the southwestern province of Sichuan, guests said. "The new couple and the guests were very happy, like any other normal wedding," Xiao Wei, an aid worker who attended the festivities, told Reuters by telephone. "The new couple said they would overcome all difficulties together in the future." Xiao, who works with a Sino-British AIDS prevention project active in Gongmin, said more than 200 guests attended last Friday's wedding, including some who are HIV-positive. "Local villagers didn't mind sharing a meal with them," he said. All 67 HIV patients in the town were infected as a result of illegal blood selling in the central province of Henan in the early 1990s, the official China Daily said on Monday. Wang was infected with HIV by her former husband He Yong, who went to Henan with Cao to sell their blood, it said. He died in September 2002, leaving his wife and daughter. The Sichuan newlyweds allowed state newspapers to splash color photographs of themselves, both wearing striped shirts and corsages of red roses, laughing and dining with guests at the bride's modest courtyard home. "The newlyweds already decided before marriage they did not want to have children," the Beijing Morning Post said in a half-page story accompanied by legal and medical commentary. Experts believe the true number of China's HIV sufferers is closer to 1.5 million, and the United Nations says the number could soar to 10 million by 2010 if the government does not do more to contain the disease. "Right now, most HIV-positive and AIDS patients are not open about their status," said Han Ning, a doctor at Beijing's Ditan hospital. "If they could learn from the new couple to be open about their personal experiences, they would be better understood by the public," he said. Sufferers cannot legally secure jobs in cities if they fail mandatory health tests, while others in certain parts of China cannot marry if they are infected with the virus, activists say.


AIDS Violence Flares in China 3/08/03 -- Newsday

In the past few months, Chinese AIDS patients have been beaten, arrested, harassed and denied life-saving medicines, say prominent AIDS and human rights activists. The recent episodes appear to defy hopes that arose during China's SARS crisis, when both political leaders and opinion makers called for changes in how the nation deals with public health issues, particularly HIV. The aftermath of SARS had observers optimistic that China would be more forthcoming about AIDS, including the rights of HIV patients. "Many people thought things would get better after SARS," said Wan Yan Hai, a Chinese AIDS dissident, in an interview. "But it hasn't happened." Instead, violence has flared in recent weeks, particularly in China's Henan province, where an estimated 1 million peasants became infected with HIV during the 1990s after selling their blood to government-run clinics and then being transfused with pooled, contaminated blood. International organizations are stepping in, pleading with the Chinese government to stop the Henan violence. Last week, a coalition of leading HIV scientists and AIDS luminaries sent a letter to China's Premier Wen Jiabao, charging, "The harassment of people with HIV/AIDS and their advocates diminishes China's ability to halt its AIDS epidemic." All of this comes against a dramatically different background of political and legal steps taken with the SARS epidemic. Despite an official cover-up of the extent of SARS, once "openness" became the watchword, many lost jobs or faced demotion for blocking dissemination of accurate information. As Chinese scientists research the origins of the SARS virus in a well-funded campaign, HIV research occupies low prestige. A Beijing official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the HIV/AIDS workforce of China - a nation of 1.3 billion - is around 200 people. "I don't think our government will treat AIDS as it did SARS," said Wan. "SARS attacked the capital city and affected political stability."


Hong Kong researchers call for better education to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission 15/07/03 -- Wizard Communications

Women from the Chinese mainland are less aware of HIV risks than Kong residents, particularly mother-to-child HIV transmission and safe sex, according to new research from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The research, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, shows that only 37 per cent of pregnant women in Hong Kong think they are at risk of contracting HIV and only 38 per cent would take steps to protect themselves if they believed their partner was HIV positive. Based on interviews with 191 women attending the antenatal clinic of a regional hospital in Hong Kong, the researchers discovered that although the women had fairly good general knowledge about HIV/AIDS, they were less knowledgeable about safe sex and specific mother-to-child HIV transmission. With the increasing volume of sex trade at the Hong Kong-China border, and the common phenomenon of men in Hong Kong having a second wife on the Chinese mainland, pregnant women in Hong Kong seemed to be unaware of their vulnerable position in relation to contracting HIV infection. About 60 per cent of the women believed they had no chance of contracting HIV, while 37 per cent said they could be at risk because they, or their spouse, had had multiple sexual partners, blood transfusions or contact with HIV carriers. More than three-quarters believed that HIV screening should be carried out before marriage (78.5 per cent) and 73 per cent would like to see screening before pregnancy. If HIV was suspected, 70 per cent of women said they would conduct screening with their partner and 19 per cent would take the test on their own. But only 38 per cent said they would ask their partner to use a condom, refuse to have sex or separate and two per cent would keep quiet to avoid any conflict. If HIV was confirmed, 24 per cent of women would have their pregnancy terminated. The study also showed that women from the Chinese mainland were less informed about HIV than Hong Kong residents and the level of a woman's knowledge about mother-to-child HIV transmission increased with her education level.


HIV/AIDS in China Spreads Into the General Population 30/04/03 -- Population Reference Bureau

China is at significant risk of a generalized HIV/AIDS epidemic as the disease is spreading from relatively localized high-risk groups into the mainstream population. By the end of 2002, the Chinese government had documented 40,560 cases of HIV infection but estimated that 1 million could be infected nationwide. Outside experts, including the U.S. National Intelligence Council and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), estimated in 2001 that by 2010 there could be between 10 million and 15 million infected Chinese. According to writer Andrew Thompson, the Chinese government has identified localized HIV/AIDS epidemics among three populations that account for most infections in the country: intravenous drug users, who represent approximately two-thirds of those infected; commercial sex workers; and recipients of unsafe blood donations/transfusions. The Chinese government has moved forward in its approach to HIV/AIDS, but numerous problems are hindering government efforts. Poor baseline data present a major problem for Chinese officials charged with assessing the problem and allocating resources. China's HIV surveillance system focuses on high-risk populations, especially intravenous drug users and commercial sex workers. There are no surveillance sites that provide voluntary, confidential testing services to the general public. This leads people to believe that HIV/AIDS affects only marginalized populations and deprives the Ministry of Health of the hard data needed to convince skeptics and top leaders that HIV/AIDS poses a serious threat to the general population. China faces a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic. If the government does not act quickly and decisively, warns Thompson, China risks becoming the country with the largest number of people with HIV.


China's AIDS Villages Fear Double Whammy from SARS 23/04/03 -- Agence France Presse

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coupled with AIDS could wipe out huge segments of the population in China's "AIDS villages," Chinese and international health officials said Wednesday. More than an estimated 1 million people in central Henan province alone have contracted HIV from selling blood in unsanitary collection stations beginning in the mid-1980s, according to non-governmental organizations. Henan is worst hit, but 22 other provinces, including SARS-affected Shanxi in the north, also have AIDS villages. "If SARS hits HIV areas, that will decimate all the people who are HIV-positive right away," said Ray Yip, head of AIDS prevention for UNICEF's China office. "The death rate of SARS now is four percent, but if it gets to AIDS villages, it could be at least 30 to 40 percent," said Hu Jia, executive director of the Beijing-based AIDS prevention group Aizhixing Institute of Health Education. Henan province has reported six cases of SARS so far, and Shanxi has reported 141 cases, but even local doctors question those figures. "There are many suspected cases they're not reporting," said Wu Guofeng, a doctor at the Shangcai County People's Hospital. Awareness of SARS and its dangers appears low among villagers. Fearful of SARS, migrant workers from Henan's AIDS villages and elsewhere in the province are beginning to return home from major cities - possibly bringing SARS with them. So far, no SARS cases have been reported in the AIDS villages, but that does not mean there are no cases. Zhao Zhen, a farmer in Shui county, said three people recently came back from Guangdong with SARS symptoms but only one was isolated. "The other two are staying home," Zhao said. "They don't want to go to the hospital." That mentality is common in a population that has suffered discrimination due to AIDS. Farmers in AIDS villages are just now learning about SARS by word of mouth, Hu said. "Many of the families have sold their TV to pay for medicine for AIDS. Forget the radio. They can no longer afford to pay for electricity," said Hu. "Some families don't even have soap to wash hands."


China Urges Safer Sex in Rural Areas and Among Migrant Workers 11/12/02 -- Agence France Presse

Family planning associations throughout China will be asked to do a better job of teaching the rural and migrant population about safe sex to prevent HIV/AIDS, the state's China Daily said Wednesday. Most rural branches of the China Family Planning Association lack good education programs on reproductive health and disease prevention, CFPA Chair Jiang Chunyun said. CFPA, boasting over 1 million branches and more than 80 million members, is a vast network throughout urban and rural China. Its primary task in the past has been to promote the country's family planning policy, which generally restricts urban couples to one child and rural couples to two if the first one is a girl. But with a rise in HIV/AIDS cases, family planning workers are now being asked to promote safe sex. "People in rural areas, especially in the country's western regions, are lacking basic knowledge on contraception, AIDS prevention and family planning," Jiang said at a CFPA meeting Tuesday. "Meanwhile, tens of thousands of rural people are flowing into cities, most of whom concentrate in small and medium-sized non-state enterprises, where few family planning associations are set up," he said. Yang Kuifu, vice chair of the association, pledged that in the future, CFPA would strive to reach every household in every village and every work unit. Experts estimate more than 8 million Chinese have STDs - far larger than the official figure of 830,000 STD patients - and that the figure is growing by almost 40 percent a year, the China Daily reported recently.


China to Lift Ban on Condom Advertisements 02/12/02 -- Agence France Presse

China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce, whose 1989 regulations banned the advertisement of all products related to sexual activity, announced on World AIDS Day it will begin allowing condom ads next year. "The ban should have been lifted a long time ago because condoms are the most effective tools not only for avoiding pregnancy, but also protecting people and their partners from sexually transmitted disease," An Bohua, a state family planning official, told the China Daily.


China Allows AIDS-Infected Woman to Marry Healthy Man 25/11/02 -- Associated Press

A woman with HIV will marry an uninfected man in a ceremony in Beijing on Sunday to mark World AIDS Day, according to the Xinhua News Agency. It is the first time China will allow such a union. The woman, 28, is a former drug addict who contracted HIV from dirty needles. She has lived for four years with her fianc้. The couple got approval to marry from officials in Guizhou, a poor southern region known as a drug-smuggling route. Xinhua said health officials and experts invited the couple to wed in the capital to lift the profile of an HIV conference to be held there.


China's Youngsters Think Mosquitoes Spread AIDS 31/10/02 -- Agence France Presse

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.


Chinese City Passes Law to Protect Rights of AIDS Patients 16/10/02 -- Agence France Presse

The Chinese city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province passed the country's first law to protect the rights of people with AIDS, state press reported Wednesday. AIDS patients and their families will be guaranteed equal rights of employment, education and health care, according to the Shanghai Morning Post. Employers will also be denied access to AIDS patients' medical records. The report did not specify if the measures would apply to people with HIV. The news follows a speech Monday by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan during his visit to China in which he warned that the country is on the verge of a debilitating AIDS crisis if leaders fail to take action.


China Says the Number of Its People Infected with AIDS Virus to Reach 1 Million by End of Year 06/09/02 -- Associated Press

The number of people in China infected with HIV will soar to 1 million by the end of this year, but the rate of new infections seems to be falling, a Health Ministry official said Friday. Previously, China estimated 850,000 infections at the end of last year, though health officials have confirmed only 30,736 cases. Friday's announcement was the highest estimate given yet by the Chinese government. While the number of infected people jumped 58 percent from 2000 to 2001, the rate of increase this year dropped to 16.7 percent, said Qi Xiaoqiu, director general of the ministry's Department of Disease Control. Qi gave no explanation for the reported fall in the rate of new infections. But he noted government efforts to supply low-cost treatment and clean up an unsanitary blood-buying industry blamed for infecting thousands of rural villagers. Nevertheless, he said, China could have as many as 10 million people with HIV by 2010 "if we don't do our jobs well." Qi said the government figure on infected people was based on information from local authorities and 148 research centers nationwide run by the Health Ministry. Foreign health experts have questioned China's official AIDS figures. They say that among other failings, local officials are avoiding testing high- risk people in order to meet targets for holding down the number of reported cases. Qi said government research showed that 68 percent of Chinese with HIV became infected by sharing contaminated needles. In poor rural areas, however, infection was mainly through unsanitary blood-buying methods. He said such cases accounted for about 10 percent of infections. The government recently began treating patients with a domestically produced version of AZT. Ten more Chinese firms have applied for permission to make generic AIDS drugs and might be producing them by the end of the year, Qi said. Foreign pharmaceutical companies have cut the cost of drugs sold in China from 130,000 yuan ($16,000) annually to about 30,000 yuan ($4,000), he said, still far more than most Chinese could pay. China is trying to negotiate further discounts, he said.


China Announces Jump in AIDS Cases 3/10/02 -- Associated Press

The Chinese government announced a 17 percent increase in the number of Chinese infected with HIV and sharply raised its estimate of the disease's spread, saying up to 850,000 people could be infected, and 100,000 might have died. There are 30,736 people confirmed to be infected with HIV and 1,594 people with AIDS, although the true number of AIDS cases could be as high as 200,000, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The number of confirmed cases was more than 17 percent above the figure announced in mid-2001, while the estimate of people with the virus was more than 40 percent higher than the previous official estimate of 600,000.

The report noted that authorities believe China's official AIDS statistics are far lower than the true figure because of poor reporting by local health officials. "Experts believe that over half of the 200,000 AIDS patients have lost their lives," Xinhua said. The report added to growing official candor in recent months about the spread of the disease in China after years of denying that it was a problem. The most dramatic disclosure came in August, when the Health Ministry said the number of confirmed cases had jumped 67 percent in the first half of 2001.

Intravenous drug use accounted for 68 percent of infections, while poor sanitation at companies that buy blood accounted for 9.7 percent, Xinhua said. That was the most specific official estimate yet of people infected by China's blood-buying industry, which is blamed for spreading the virus to thousands of poor, rural villagers.


HIV/AIDS Research Center Operational in Shanghai 9/26/01 -- Xinhua

A HIV/AIDS research center went into operation recently in Shanghai. Specialists both from home and abroad are invited to participate in the center's academic research efforts and application of new technologies and methods to combat the disease. Statistics show that Shanghai now has some 390 people who are HIV-positive, including 48 AIDS patients.


600,000 in China Have AIDS Virus and Number Rising by 30 Percent 6/26/01 -- Associated Press

More than 600,000 people in China are estimated to be infected with HIV, and the number is increasing by 30 percent annually, primarily because of an upsurge in infections among intravenous drug users, China's health minister said Monday. The government has launched a five-year plan to reduce the increase from 30 percent to 10 percent annually, Zhang Wenkang said. The plan calls for AIDS awareness in the sex education curriculum for 15-year-olds, prevention messages from leading actors, condom vending machines, and education programs at all leadership levels.


AIDS Panic in China Leads to Draconian Measures 03/23/01 -- Wall Street Journal

Efforts to fight the AIDS epidemic in China are coming largely in the form of bills limiting the rights of HIV-infected individuals--a situation that has doctors and activists concerned. The fear is that the new measures could increase discrimination against people with HIV or AIDS; discourage individuals from getting tested for HIV; and play on the belief that AIDS can be eliminated by punishing those infected, rather than informing the public. A law in Beijing City, for example, stipulates that the bodies of people who died from HIV or AIDS must be cremated immediately and not moved out of the city. In Hebei Province, the law states that "those with sexually transmitted diseases who have not been cured cannot join the military, enter school, recruit workers or get married, cannot obtain permission to have a child, cannot work in child care, food-related, or service industries, etc., and those already in those fields must be transferred." Recent government estimates indicate that China could have 10 million cases of HIV infection by 2010, up from 500,000 now, unless aggressive measures are taken. Experts note that because the country is at a relatively early stage with the disease, such efforts could be quite successful.


China Admits Having More Than 22,000 HIV Cases 02/26/01 -- Reuters

There were 22,517 known HIV patients in China as of year-end 2000, but a new report indicates that the actual number could be substantially higher. State television quoted experts from the health ministry as saying the country could have over 600,000 cases of HIV infection. Unless aggressive measures are taken, the United Nations has predicted that China could have at least 10 million cases of HIV/AIDS by 2010. According to the television report, about 70 percent of China's HIV cases are among drug users, two-thirds live in rural communities, and nearly 90 percent are between the ages of 20 and 50.


Chinese City Enacts Controversial Rules for HIV Infected People, High-Risk Groups 01/15/01 -- Washington Post

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in China, has adopted a new legislature that directly effects people who are HIV-positive. The recent Chengdu City AIDS Prevention and Management Regulation, slated to begin in May, will ban HIV patients and people who have tested positive for the virus to marry. In addition, the new law requires police to test all arrestees of high-risks groups for HIV and those that test positive must be incarcerated separately from the others. The new law also mandates HIV testing for Chinese citizens who have been residing abroad for more than one year, and furthermore encourages HIV-positive women who become pregnant to have an abortion if treatment for the prevention of transmission of HIV to the infant is not available. The strict new legislature has created a public stir.


Chinese Measures to Slow HIV Spread Appear Ineffective 12/20/00 -- Reuters

A new report suggests that despite China's efforts to end them, prostitution and drug abuse are the primary modes of HIV transmission in the country. According to Dr. Ai-xia Wang of Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing, who presented her findings at the Seventh Western Pacific Conference on Chemotherapy and Infectious Diseases in Hong Kong, condoms are widely used in China; however, they are mostly promoted for family planning, instead of for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. A separate report estimated that the actual number of HIV infections in China is up to 25 times higher than the official 20,711 cases reported. The report predicted that there might be 10 million HIV cases in China by 2010.


Survey Says Few Chinese Know How AIDS Is Transmitted 11/30/00 -- Reuters

A new report from the Chinese Ministry of Health and the People's University of China indicates that only 3.8 percent of Chinese are aware of how HIV is transmitted. According to the Guangming Daily, the survey--which involved more than 3,800 people between the ages of 20 and 64--found that more than 50 percent of respondents thought they could become infected if they used chopsticks and bowls that an AIDS patient had used. Many respondents also cited sneezing and hand-shaking as possible modes of transmission, and about 45 percent thought that using a condom would not help prevent HIV infection. Conservative attitudes have made promoting sex education difficult in China, and advertising condoms is thought to encourage promiscuity.


Number of Chinese HIV Carriers Up 37 Percent 11/01/00 -- Reuters

As of the end of September, China had recorded 20,711 cases of HIV infection--a 37 percent increase compared to the same time last year. The Xinhua news agency, quoting the health ministry, said that most of the new HIV infections were among people between the ages of 20 and 29, with injection drug users accounting for 72 percent of cases. Chinese experts in the state media estimate that the actual number of HIV infections is much higher, about 500,000 throughout the country. Furthermore, according to United Nations estimates, unless aggressive actions are taken, there will be 10 million HIV cases in China by 2010.


In Rural China, a Steep Price of Poverty: Dying of AIDS 10/28/00 -- New York Times

Small, rural towns in central China are experiencing an unreported epidemic of AIDS, with HIV rates of nearly 20 percent in some areas, according to covert research. Chinese officials deny there is a problem, however, and outside researchers are not allowed to study the topic. The high incidence is due to farmers selling their blood to people called blood heads, who reuse contaminated needles to collect the blood. Adding to the threat is the fact that the donated blood is pooled and, after the needed elements are taken out, the rest is returned to donors. One woman, Dr. Gao Yaojie, a 76-year-old retired physician, is working to educate the farmers and discourage women from selling their blood. Endless blood shortages in hospitals and a lack of donors has led to the blood selling problem. Poverty has also led many people to sell their blood--some of whom try to do it twice a day, a local official claimed in an unpublished report.


China Hotel Sparks Controversy Over Free Condoms 05/27/00 -- Kyodo News Service

A hotel in China's southwestern Sichuan Province has become the first in the country to provide condoms in its rooms, a controversial move done to encourage HIV prevention. While other hotels in the region have said they do not plan to follow suit, an official at the Chengdu Technological Instruction Institute for Family Planning has voiced his support for the New Century Hotel's plan, particularly if it helps prevent HIV. Sichuan Province has the fifth highest rate of HIV and AIDS in China, with injection drug use and sexual contact the primary means of transmission. Official statistics indicate there are more than 400,000 HIV cases in China, although some experts claim the actual number is much higher.


China's AIDS Patients Surges 69 Percent in 1999 04/04/00 -- Agence France Presse

The Shanghai Daily reported that the number of AIDS patients in China increased 69 percent in 1999 from the previous year, with 4,677 new cases of HIV. The report noted there were over 17,000 confirmed cases of HIV or AIDS by year-end 1999, including 647 cases of AIDS. Dai Zhicheng of the Chinese Association of AIDS Prevention and Control asserted that "the figure has been rocketing for five years, and rampant sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis may make the situation worse."


Number of Chinese With HIV Rises, State-Run Paper Reports 10/7/99 -- Dallas Morning News

China's Yangcheng Evening News reported Friday that the number of HIV-infected people in the country has passed 400,000. The paper, citing Health Ministry sources, said that many of the patients are drug addicts living in rural areas, and the number of sexually transmitted diseases is also on the rise. A total of 83 percent of the HIV cases are among men, with more than 50 percent between the ages of 20 and 30.


China Slaps Ban on its First Condom Ad 12/02/99 -- Reuters

China has banned its first national condom advertisement two days after its premiere to mark World AIDS Day. The ad was illegally promoting sex products, according to the government. The conservative nature in China and the ban further promote silence regarding AIDS. Health experts, however, fear the number of HIV infections from sexual contact will double in two years in China, indicating the need for such a campaign.


Condom Vending Machines a Hit in China 9/9/98 -- Reuters

According to the China Daily, the country's first condom vending machines in the southern town of Shenzhen have been so successful that machines will be placed in other cities. In the first month of operation, each of the 50 machines sold 2,000 to 3,000 condoms at 12 cents each. The paper reported that sales have been spurred by the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Prostitution is widespread in Shenzhen, and last week the China Daily reported that 21 people individuals in the town are HIV positive.


AIDS/HIV CASES TOTAL 9,970 AT END OF MARCH 20/5/98 -- AFP

China will set up a national centre this year to fight against the spread of AIDS. The National Centre for AIDS will be in charge of surveillance, epidemiological research, and development of vaccines and drugs and will be located in the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. "There is an urgent need for such an institute because the AIDS epidemic is on the verge of an outbreak in China," said Shao Yiming, director of the National AIDS Reference Laboratory which was established in 1996. The Ministry of Health announced at the end of March that it had detected 9,970 HIV/AIDS, but warned that the actual figure may be in excess of 200,000.


China Hopes to Embolden Squeamish Condom-Buyers 15/3/98 -- Nando Times Online

China Daily's Business Weekly reports that Chinese authorities are planning to launch contraceptive specialization stores in order to relieve the embarrassment associated with buying condoms felt by some individuals at local department stores. Currently, department stores are the primary retailer of condoms, contraceptive pills, and creams, but regional taboos over the public discussion of sex deters a number of potential customers. The stores--which would be launched this year in the provincial capitals--would be licensed by the State Family Planning Commission, training staff and providing suitable facilities for government-approved contraceptives. The central government plans to boost spending on contraceptives to more than $36 million in 1998.


AIDS Spreads in South China's Guangdong Province Jan 31, 1997

A 25 percent increase in HIV infections was reported in China's Guangdong province in 1996, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Last year, 54 HIV infections were reported in the province, including six that had progressed to AIDS. Sexually transmitted diseases were also reportedly on the rise. -- Rueters


140 People Found HIV-Positive in Macao Nov 20, 1996

Of the 140 people in Macao found to be HIV-positive, 110 are non-Macao residents, public health officials reported. Most of the non-residents are women from Thailand working in the entertainment business. The public health department reported that it will continue regular checks of people in the entertainment industry and will advise those individuals who test positive to leave. The department will also observe "World Anti-AIDS Day" on Dec. 1 to enhance AIDS awareness among residents." -- Xinhua News Agency


MORE THAN 4,000 PEOPLE SAID TO BE SUFFERING FROM AIDS Nov 1, 1996

Over the past two years, the pace at which AIDS has been spreading in China has accelerated markedly. By the end of August in 1996, 4,305 people were reported to be infected with the disease. The number of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities which have discovered infected people has grown to 28. Experts believe that a considerable number of infected people are hidden among ordinary people. AIDS has been transmitted in China in the following distinctive ways: (1) Blood is the primary means of transmission. Since individual blood donors move from place to place to donate their blood, they have spread AIDS to various parts of the country. In many areas, AIDS-infected people have been discovered among intravenous drug users. (2) Transmission through sex is increasing gradually. The number of AIDS sufferers among people who returned from abroad has increased. People involved in relevant affairs pointed out: China's huge migrant population, people's lack of knowledge about prevention, the continued existence of drug abuse and prostitution, the growing number of people with venereal diseases and ineffective prevention against infections through blood transfusions and from medical sources have all created opportunities for the spread of AIDS.-- Zhongguo Tongxun She news agency


China Concedes Blood Product Contained AIDS Virus Oct 25, 1996

Two years after initial reports by journalists claimed that a common blood product made by a Chinese military-run factory was infected with HIV, China's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that some samples of the product have tested positive for the virus. Earlier this year, China's Ministry of Public Health ordered state-run medical facilities to stop using a certain brand of serum albumin without giving a reason. Chinese officials have not identified the scope of the contamination and the public health threat, but report about eight tainted lots of the product indicate that as many as 10,000 vials are unaccounted for. The incident is the first acknowledgment by China of a medical crisis related to HIV contamination and the possibility of negligent handling of blood products. It also sheds light on weaknesses in China's blood system, in which much donated blood is not screened for HIV and incidents of contamination are overlooked. -- New York Times


CHINA SAYS SEX DISEASES COULD FUEL AIDS EPIDEMIC Oct 18, 1996

BEIJING - China said that sexual contact was the leading cause of AIDS and warned that venereal disease could be a springboard for an AIDS epidemic. The number of reported cases of eight major sexually transmitted diseases diseases, including AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis, had risen to 362,000 last year and officials forecast that figure could rocket to more than 800,000 by 2000, it said. Prostitution and narcotics abuse have both boomed in recent years as freewheeling economic reforms weaken puritan Marxist values. -- By Scott Hillis, (c) Reuters Limited 1996 SOURCES REUTER NEWS SERVICE


UP TO 100,000 CHINESE INFECTED WITH HIV Oct 16, 1996

BEIJING - An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people in China are infected with the HIV virus but many Chinese still know little about the deadly AIDS disease it can cause, health officials said. China was at a critical stage in its fight against AIDS, but a campaign launched by Beijing's communist leadership to promote "spiritual civilisation" -- or puritan Marxism values -- would help cut the cases caused by unsafe sex and drug use, the Xinhua news agency said. Officials said they also planned to strengthen publicity to promote condom use.

China was continuing to clamp down on drug abuse, strengthen controls on blood for medical transfusions and boost anti-AIDS education and was currently holding a three-day national meeting on the disease in Beijing, another ministry official said. Overseas experience had shown that condoms were an effective way to prevent AIDS and China had launched an experimental campaign to promote condom use in Shanghai in 1994, said the health ministry official. "The result was not very good," he said. "Many people feel willing to use condoms if they are free... but not if they are sold." --By Mure Dickie, (c) Reuters Limited 1996 SOURCES REUTER NEWS SERVICE


China Sounds Alarm on AIDS Oct 15, 1996

Chinese health officials report that AIDS is spreading rapidly throughout the country, adding that government AIDS campaigns were not effective. The State AIDS Supervision Station said AIDS awareness was low among members of high-risk groups and that most HIV infections are attributed to intravenous drug use. By the end of 1995, China had 3,341 documented HIV cases. In that year, 1,567 cases were added, compared to 502 new cases in 1994. The Ministry of Health estimates that close to 10,000 people are infected with HIV, and independent activists and experts say the number is closer to 100,000. The government has appropriated $1.8 billion for national AIDS work this year. -- United Press International


Beijing Finds 122 People HIV-Positive Since 1985 April 18, 1996

A total of 122 people in Beijing have tested positive for HIV since 1985. Of that total, 51 were foreigners, 41 were non-Beijing residents, and 30 were local people. The first cases of HIV in people native to Beijing were reported in 1989. Twelve of the 30 locals have developed AIDS and seven have died. China has some 50,000 to 100,000 HIV-positive individuals, with more than 70 percent living in the southwestern Yunnan province, an area of high drug use. -- Reuters


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