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Chinese Media To Increase Efforts Aimed At Fighting HIV/AIDS Discrimination

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Fighting HIV/AIDS Discrimination

The United Nations Development Programmerecently called on China's commercial media and private businesssectors to increase their efforts to fight HIV/AIDS-related stigma anddiscrimination in the country, Xinhuanetreports. "In order to break the stifling cycle of stigma anddiscrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, the influence of commercialmedia and advertisement sector on society needs to be productivelyharnessed," Subinay Nandy, director of UNDP China, said.

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Stigmaand discrimination have been "significant obstacles" to universalaccess to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programs inChina, Xinhuanet reports. A surveyconducted earlier this year at 12 Beijing universities considered to besome of the most progressive in the country found that nearly 25% ofstudents would oppose having HIV-positive classmates. The survey alsofound that 4% of respondents said people should be refused jobs basedon their HIV status.

"Commercial media is a major source ofinformation for the general public with strong and persistentinfluences on people's behavior and attitudes," Ru Xiaomei, an officialwith the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said, adding, "They should be the main force in our fight against AIDS." According to Marilyn Zhu, director of MTV China,the channel recently has aired several daily, one-minute HIV/AIDSadvertisements on prime-time television. Filip Noubel, country directorfor Internews Network,said the media still has not saturated the public with HIV/AIDSawareness messages, adding that it should introduce more humanity andpersonality to HIV/AIDS efforts.

"Everyone is responsible forfighting AIDS," Tang Lixin -- president of EPIN Media, which playsHIV/AIDS ads on more than 300 trains in China -- said, adding, "Acompany should not avoid its social responsibilities." Henk Bekedam,representative for the World Health Organization's Office in Chine,said 28% of the country's population is fully aware of HIV/AIDS. Chinaofficially reported 183,733 HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, but expertsestimate there are likely 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in thecountry (Xinhuanet, 8/2).

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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and signup for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.