China is launching a condom campaign to help prevent the spread of AIDS.
Starting on Sunday, August 1, condoms are to be made available at a number of public areas, including universities and entertainment spots. The campaign is starting in areas such as Beijing and east China’s Jiangsu Province.
In Beijing, a number of condom vending machines will be set up at universities. Condoms will also be available from vending machines or staff at hotels, bars and areas habituated by migrant workers, according to the Municipal Bureau of Health. Free pamphlets and posters will also be widely employed for AIDS education.
In addition to ensuring availability of condoms, Jiangsu provincial authorities are intensifying HIV/AIDS control and prevention through education. The subject is being added to the provincial middle school curriculum this autumn. There must be six classes on AIDS control and prevention in junior high schools every term, and four classes in senior high schools. Colleges and universities have been directed to offer no fewer than two elective courses or lectures on AIDS prevention every term.
In Haikou, the capital of south China’s Hainan Province, the municipal government has directed the departments of health, public security and tourism to work together to popularize the use of condoms.
Sponsored by six ministries, the condom campaign is intended to help control and prevent the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent AIDS.
Departments of health at all levels are responsible for public education on AIDS and the use of the condoms.
China has an officially estimated 840,000 HIV carriers and about 80,000 AIDS patients. Many experts believe that actual number may be far higher. If the situation is not controlled, experts predict that the number of HIV carriers in the country could hit 10 to 12 million by 2010.
The regional prevalence of the disease and high mortality rate among certain groups has made the Chinese government realize the seriousness of the issue.
(China Daily August 2, 2004)