HIV patients in China are still being ostracized from society despite greater public awareness about the disease, according to a survey by a Beijing-based research group.
Of the 956 respondents from the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, 99.5 percent said they understood that HIV could be transmitted through contaminated needles, blood transfusion and unprotected sex while 90.4 percent recognized that it could be passed from mother to child, according to a survey conducted by the Capital View Research. Over 70 percent said they knew AIDS testing was free.
However 20 percent thought they could contract HIV in plunge baths, swimming pools and other public places frequently visited by HIV carriers.
Only 32.8 percent of the respondents said they would care for HIV sufferers and only 30 percent said they had greater tolerance for HIV carriers after being exposed to AIDS awareness campaigns.
Five percent admitted that they would actively discriminate against HIV patients and 36.6 percent said they had absolutely no regard for them.
The Ministry of Health said last week that by the end of October, a total of 183,733 people had been officially reported to have contracted HIV, 39,644 more than at the end of 2005,
Thirty-seven percent of HIV infections were caused by drug users sharing contaminated needles and 28 percent were caused by unprotected sex, according to Hao Yang, deputy director of the ministry's Bureau of Disease Control.
China issued its first regulations on AIDS in February this year, banning discrimination against sufferers and requiring regional authorities to provide free testing and treatment.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2006)