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AIDS Information Shared With Sex Dealers

Lectures on control and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases will be launched within the next two months, targeting those suspected of operating sex businesses in Shenzhen, a coastal city in South China's Guangdong Province.

The Shenzhen Chronic Bronchitis Prevention and Cure Hospital revealed that the programme will employ 50 medical workers to communicate with workers in this industry,. including practitioners in nightclubs, ballrooms, massage parlours, hair and foot massage salons will be given information about sexually transmitted diseases.

A report from the Shenzhen Department of Health said that among HIV/AIDS sufferers in this city, one-third of patients have been infected through sexual contact and the rate of female patients is higher than the average level in the country.

A health bureau official, who declined to be named, told China Daily that this move is poised to control the deadly disease at its source and thus protect people in society overall. The official added that apart from drug use and blood transfusions, sexual contact is one of the major channels to become infected with HIV and AIDS.

The official expressed her confidence about the effectiveness of this anti-AIDS campaign.

She said local hospitals have accumulated some experience in helping staff in these places in recent years. Moreover, medical workers will receive training on ways to communicate information about chronic bronchitis prevention and cures before they are sent out to work.

However, some parties are concerned as to whether the move may be mistaken as the city turning a blind eye to illegal sexual activities.

Cai He, professor with Sun Yat-sen University told China Daily that the action will have a positive impact on the society.

The sex business cannot be eradicated overnight. Thus efforts to improve awareness among members of the public does not mean encouraging illegal sexual activities. It is urgent to keep the contagious disease from spreading further among healthy people, Cai said in his remarks.

(China Daily  June 1, 2004)

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