In response to China’s increasing HIV infections, the government, still trying to eradicate online pornography, has increased measures to educate high-risk groups, focusing on sex workers.
In the population of 1.3 billion, over 700,000 have HIV, including 75,000 with AIDS. Prostitution overtook drug use as the prime cause for HIV infection in 2007. In Shanghai, the HIV infection rate has quintupled among men who have sex with men over just two years (2005-07), even though syphilis incidence stayed the same. And some drug-resistant strains have recently developed.
Prostitution and drug use are illegal in China, and homosexuality is suppressed even more than general sexuality. Bad information on HIV, including prevention through pill and injection treatments, is particularly rampant in rural communities. While condom use among sex workers can be 70-80 percent in urban settings, it is less than 50 percent in rural areas. In one area of Yunnan, a less developed province, 7 percent of sex workers are HIV positive, compared to a 0.5 percent average of the entire nation’s.
China is looking toward more progressive measures to decrease the infection rate. In 2000, a pilot needle exchange program launched in Gaungdong, which proved successful. By 2007, the government founded 775 programs across 17 provinces. Now, China is setting up education campaigns targeting sex workers. Sichuan is even taking HIV into account for its earthquake emergency response.
The first reported AIDS case was in Beijing, 1985. Since then, HIV has been rapidly increasing, 45 percent from 2006–2007. China’s own blood donor program, pooling all the blood for plasma collection, infected an estimated hundreds of thousands, including donors somehow. Until three years ago, fewer than 8,000 people in China had died of AIDS; then, almost 7,000 people died in the first nine months of 2008.
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