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Expert: AIDS Control Requires Changing Views on Sex

"It is a violation of human rights to judge HIV carriers immoral," says He Zuoxiu, famous philosopher and physicist.

"We ought to extend our arms to them, rather than coldly look on," He said.

He said the Chinese government had taken many measures in Aids prevention and control recognized by the international community, and China had already made remarkable achievements in this respect. However, China's Aids situation would never improve until public views on Aids and sex were changed.

Today the topic of sex is still a forbidden zone to most Chinese people. Aids is regarded as "an immoral disease caught by the immoral".

He said this attitude brings such huge psychological pressures to HIV sufferers that they were afraid to let others know of their infection, and sometimes even refused to receive any medical examination or treatment.

He pointed out that Chinese traditional views on sex had been formed through the long feudal times, when social productivity was poor. Rulers were afraid that civilians would rebel because their normal desires could not be met, so they advocated that people should withhold their desires, especially sexual desires.

"As a matter of fact, people are born with the desire for sex just as for food. People may catch stomach or intestine diseases if they do not dine properly, and equally, people may catch Aids if they do not have sex in a healthy and scientific way. The former is never considered immoral, however, the latter is always under fierce criticism. It is unfair," He said.

He hoped that society as a whole would take a tolerant attitude toward HIV carriers. He also hoped that Chinese academia, especially humanists and moralists, would make every effort to change society's views on sex, so that HIV carriers would stride out of psychological shadows and help halt the progress of the epidemic.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2003)

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