China Uses Beijing Gay Bars In AIDS Ed Campaign
Posted by pozlife on June 13, 2007
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 12, 2007 – 8:00 pm ET
(Beijing) China is stepping up its AIDS education programs in the gay community – enlisting gay bars for the first time in educating the mostly closeted community about safe sex.
Nineteen gay clubs and other businesses are participating in the program – about half of the estimated number of gay venues in the capital.
The bars, clubs, health centers and massage parlors will hand out free condoms and literature to customers.
“As far as we know, such venues are already frequented by HIV-infected gays. It would be irresponsible if we did not take urgent prevention measures,” Xiao Dong, a worker with the Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group told the Xinhua news agency.
A government sponsored training session for the staff of the 19 businesses will be held in July Xinhua said.
The government said Tuesday that the number of men who have sex with men contracting HIV has steadily grown over the past three years. The official infection rate was 1.5 percent of the population in 2004 but has now grown to almost 7 percent.
Western health authorities say the official rate is lower than the real numbers. China consistently has said it has fewer people living with HIV/AIDS than projections from the United Nations indicate.
The Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, has warned that up to 10 million people in China could be infected by 2010 without more aggressive prevention measures.
A report issued in March by China’s Ministry of Health showed that only about 30 percent of the country’s college students have a full understanding of HIV/AIDS.
In April the government for the first time held a free HIV/AIDS testing clinic for gay men in Beijing. About 200 gay men turned out.
Source: Gay News From 365Gay.com