Unsafe Sex Main Mode Of HIV Transmission In China

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Unsafe sex has become the primary mode of HIV transmission in China, according to a report released Monday by the Ministry of Health and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China Daily/Xinhuanet reports.

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Accordingto the report, of the 70,000 new cases reported in 2005, 49.8% weretransmitted through sexual contact and 48.6% were transmitted throughinjection drug use. About 7.3% of new cases occurred among men who havesex with men, the report found. According to the World Health Organization, 80% of HIV-positive people worldwide contract the virus through sex (Shan, China Daily/Xinhuanet, 8/20). Gao Qi, a project manager at the Beijing-based China HIV/AIDS Information Network,said the report's findings indicate that sexual contact is the mainmode of HIV transmission in the country for the first time. He addedthat the new trend in HIV transmission would make it increasinglydifficult to control the spread of the virus because the primarytransmission route has moved beyond IDUs (AFP/Yahoo! News, 8/20).

Thegovernment plans to initiate condom-promotion programs and other HIVprevention initiatives among commercial sex workers, who are believedto be contributing to the spread of HIV to the general public. Inaddition, some provinces, such as Yunnan and Henan, have made HIV testsmandatory for sex workers. According to Pan Suiming, a sociologist at Renmin University of China,studies conducted in recent years indicate that about one in 10sexually active Chinese men have engaged in sex with a sex worker atleast once (China Daily/Xinhuanet, 8/20). In addition, asecond report from the Chinese CDC has found that Chinese teenagers arehaving sex for the first time at an earlier age and that 40% are notusing condoms. The report also found that teenagers have littleawareness of HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports.

According to Reuters,an estimated 650,000 people in China are living with HIV/AIDS, andefforts to fight the spread of the virus are hindered by conservativeattitudes about sex and government suspicion of community-based groupsand nongovernmental organizations (Reuters, 8/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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