A total of 125 teen ambassadors were named on Saturday as part
of an ongoing HIV prevention campaign targeted at the nation's more
than 100 million young people.
The ambassadors were chosen via an online screening and
appraisal process set up by the organizer of the campaign, the
China Center for Disease Control (China CDC).
They will help raise HIV/AIDS awareness among their peers by
lecturing and distributing information in schools and public places
like squares, restaurants and construction sites.
"We are trying to reach the children and young people who will
determine the future course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said Xu
Wenqing, a project manager with UNICEF, which donated $150,000 to
the campaign this year.
Young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV, with 15- to
24-year-olds accounting for 50 percent of new cases and 5,000 to
6,000 young people infected with the virus every day - most of them
in developing countries, according to the World Health
"In China, the disease is spreading from the high-risk group to
the general public - and young people are one of the most
vulnerable groups," said An Jiaao, director of the National
Institute of Health Education under the China CDC.
A recent China CDC survey found that teenagers are having sex at
an earlier age - and 40 percent don't use protection the first time
they have sex.
"Worse, they know little about HIV/AIDS, let alone preventative
measures," An told China Daily. "Our ambassadors will help pass
information to their peers and family members."
The campaign began last year. The first 108 ambassadors gave
information to prevent HIV/AIDS and stamp out discrimination to an
estimated 50 million of their peers, according to the China
(China Daily August 20, 2007)