Merely 8.7% of the people in China know all the ABCs about AIDS transmission and prevention, a survey has found.
Jointly conducted by the Horizon Group and the Futures Group Europe in 2003, the sample survey was randomly carried out among urbanites in seven large and medium-sized cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and residents in small towns and villages of seven provinces.
Interviewees were asked basic queries on AIDS, including whether AIDS can be transmitted from mothers to their babies, through breast feeding or blood transfusion, as well as if dining with AIDS patients can pass on the disease.
They were also asked about whether the infection rate can be lowered by maintaining a monogamous relationship with an AIDS-freepartner, by having no sex at all, or by using condoms during each sexual intercourse.
According to the survey, 25.6% of the residents surveyedoffered correct answers to all of the first four questions on the major channels of AIDS transmission, while 21.4% responded positively to all the latter three questions on ways to prevent AIDS.
Only 8.7% of the interviewees gave correct answers to all the seven questions.
About 96.2 percent of the urbanites in China have heard about AIDS, much higher than the 82.6 percent of the people in small towns and the 75.1 percent of rural villagers.
Compared with the outcome of a similar survey done in 2002, township citizens' AIDS acknowledgment rate remains constant, with91.2 percent knowing about the disease, a rise of 1.3%.
Villagers in China reported the least awareness of the role of condom use in AIDS prevention. Seventeen percent of urbanites realized using condoms can prevent HIV/AIDS contractions, while 11.4 percent of small town residents, and 5.8 percent of villagers were informed the same way, the survey noted.
The survey shows more reluctant acceptance of victims of HIV/AIDS among Chinese in daily life from the previous year, due to people's inadequate knowledge of AIDS.
Only 33.9% of urbanites and 19% of small town residents acknowledged that they could treat HIV/AIDS victims equally at work, down 7.1% and 12% respectively fromthe previous year. And 57.2 percent of urbanites and 45% ofsmall town residents were willing to take care of family members of HIV/AIDS patients, plunging by 10.8% and 18% from 2002.
And 57.2% of urbanites and 63% of residents in small towns hope to keep it a secret if a family member comes downwith AIDS, showing a slight drop from a year earlier.
"The survey indicates Chinese nationals' knowledge of AIDS remains limited despite growing awareness of AIDS on the part of ranking officials in recent years," said an expert in connection with the survey.
Health experts warned that the AIDS virus is spreading into China's general population from such high-risk groups as intravenous drug users.
China's Ministry of Health announced last April that the government would give free, anonymous testing and counseling to HIV carriers in need.
Hubei and Henan provinces in central China have pledged to offer free AIDS-related medication to all HIV-carriers in additionto dispatching officials to areas most seriously hit by the epidemic.
And the government promised to provide free condoms to all sufferers of HIV/AIDS early this month.
(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2004)