China – Under The Hood: Foreigners are the cause of China’s AIDS epidemic

21-October-07 at 5.45pm

Deluded, but nevertheless true this is pretty much the contribution of the man/woman on the street to the topic, and with a little bit of embellishment here and there before you know it gossip becomes fact.  It is plain to see that many people here have little understanding of AIDS and how it is affecting China

Recently, a Chinese friend, in order to back up the above claim, stated that “70% of foreigners come to China for sex”, a fairly racist remark that is typical of the many anti-foreign remarks thrown about  to divert attention from the true nature of China’s domestic AIDS problems. By ignoring the reality of AIDS in China she is making the AIDS situation here infinitely worse than it should be.

Here is a statistic, albeit one that is six years old. UNAIDS, the Joint United Nation Program on HIV/AIDS, indicates there were well over 1 million cases of AIDS at the end of 2001 and that this number will most likely mushroom to 10 million by 2010. That was six years ago. About 70% of those infected are peasants living in rural areas. Meanwhile, the government up in Beijing estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people in the country and that 80,000 people have AIDS. 

The main cause of AIDS appears to be the use of infected needles, mainly those shared by injection drug users, but also needles used in unhygienic ways during paid blood plasma collection, are the main cause of AIDS in the People’s Republic. In rural poorer area selling blood is a regular way to earn extra money, especially for drug users and prostitutes. Disastrously, many of the blood-collecting companies are unlicensed and against the law and their use of contaminated needles has been a major factor in spreading the disease, according to UNAIDS.  Furthermore, those who sell blood to these companies are often in the most high-risk groups and have already been infected with HIV. Their blood is not tested, and is mixed into the blood pool and sold. Most of this occurs in poor, remote areas of People’s Republic (well away from the foreigner tourist trail) where there is less likely to be proper due diligence from authorities. Shuang Miao village in Henan was reported by Reuters, in 2004, to have an HIV infection incidence of 24% of the entire population, due to infected blood-collecting. Many local governments simply do not want to know or let others know about AIDS in their particular regions, as it might make them look bad. So information is suppressed. In addition, local officials worry that an honest assessment of prostitution, illegal plasma collection and drug abuse in their region would lead to their being accused of being inept.

As to other causes, the Shanghai Family Planning Institute believes no more than half of Chinese youngsters use condoms “or any precautions at all” during first-time sex.  “Many youngsters believe their sex partners won’t have a sexually transmitted disease and abortion seems easy”.’s Republ ic-contraception-markets-equity-cx_vk_0710markets5.html    

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