People closely related to AIDS/HIV patients should be notified of the patients conditions while keeping their illness from being known to others, a Chinese sexologist said in Guangzhou.
Xu Tianmin, head of the Chinese sexology society and member of the AIDS control expert committee under the Ministry of Health, said friends, relatives and others with close relations with the AIDS/HIV-infected people should be warned of the deadly disease.
"But the infected status of these patients should be protected from leaking to others, especially by doctors and nurses," he said, emphasizing that many patients feared being ostracized if their illness became common knowledge.
Protecting the privacy of AIDS/HIV patients is a controversial issue in China as AIDS is one of the most deadly infectious diseases.
By the end of April this year, China had around 840,000 HIV-positive and 80,000 AIDS patients since the first AIDS case were detected in 1985. About 160,000 of these patients have died.
China is Asia's second country facing the biggest risks posed by a rampant AIDS epidemic with the number of HIV-infected people rising by 40 percent a year.
Despite Chinese government efforts to make the public aware that living with AIDS/HIV patients is normally safe, the patients are regarded as most dangerous in most parts of the country, with some people even calling for them to be banished from their living quarters.
(Xinhua News Agency November 11, 2004)