The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on
China's commercial media and other private businesses to make
greater efforts in combating HIV-related stigma and discrimination
"In order to break the oppressive cycle of stigma and
discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, we would like to present a more
positive image using China's commercial media and advertising,"
said Subinay Nandy, director of UNDP China.
"Commercial media is a major source of information for the
general public. It has strong and enduring influences on people's
behavior and attitudes. We should use the media as our main weapon
in our fight against AIDS," said Ru Xiaomei, an official with the
National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC).
Stigma and discrimination have been significant obstacles to
universal access to HIV prevention programs, treatment, care and
A survey conducted earlier this year in 12 Beijing universities,
many considered as the most enlightened in the country, showed that
nearly a quarter of students would object to having HIV positive
classmates. Moreover, four percent said HIV carriers should barred
The survey clearly displays that China's university students
still consider it a "challenge" to shake hands with or embrace an
HIV carrier. Once they finally do it, they regard it as a
"Everyone is responsible for fighting AIDS. A company should not
avoid its social responsibilities," said Tang Lixin, president of
EPIN Media, which plays free AIDS awareness ads on over 300 trains
"We get from society, so we should give. We are good at public
relations, so we start from here," said managing director Clair
Rong of Clair PR, which has joined campaigns to fight AIDS.
"Young people listen to what MTV says," said Marilyn Zhu,
director of MTV China, adding that the channel had already made
several AIDS prevention advertisements that air daily for one
minute during prime time.
The HIV/AIDS awareness messages were not clearly targeting
audiences. We didn't have enough media saturation, said Filip
Noubel, country director for Internews Network. He added that media
should bring in more humanity and personality to their anti-AIDS
HIV/AIDS awareness has been spreading around the world for 20
Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative in China, said only 28 percent
of the country's population was fully aware of HIV/AIDS.
China had 183,733 officially reported HIV/AIDS cases in 2006.
Experts estimated actual figures are closer to 650,000 people
living with HIV/AIDS in China.
(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2007)