City hospitals are dealing with an increasing number of patients requiring check-ups for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the run-up to Spring Festival.
Doctors believe many of the patients are migrant workers, who want a check-up before returning home to their spouses for the holiday.
They say many migrant workers, who spend long periods of time away from their wives or husbands, often engage in extra-marital sex.
"Around seven to eight people are coming to have venereal disease check-ups each day, up from the usual two to three cases a day," said Lu Haoqiang, of the First Affiliated Hospital at Guangzhou Medical College.
There have also been an increase in the number of patients at other hospitals in the city, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, according to a report in the city-based Information Times.
Lu said most patients are migrant workers who are returning home for Spring Festival.
Millions of men and women from other parts of the country work in Guangzhou, far away from their spouses.
Due to difficulties involved in having sex with their wives, some workers visit prostitutes to satisfy their desires, Lu said.
And many of these workers are worried that their sexual activities may have left them with an STD, which they could then pass on to their wives or husbands.
One male migrant worker, 32, from southwestern Sichuan Province, went for a check-up, reported the Information Times. He told the newspaper he visited prostitutes once a month, even though he regrets his behavior. "Desire forces me to do it again and again," he said.
Because he is poor, he is worried he might not be able to afford the huge cost of medical treatment if he becomes infected.
He is also scared about spreading the disease to his wife when he returns home. That is why he went for a hospital examination.
Lu said most of his patients had not been infected, but the check-ups eased their worries. Some of them even take the results home to show their wives.
Lu added that there was also an increasing number of local men visiting his hospital for an STD check-up when they return to Guangzhou following business trips.
"I'm glad to see that more and more people are having check-ups on their own initiative," Li Jihong, executive director of Guangdong Sex Study Society, told China Daily.
She added that the phenomenon shows more people, especially migrant workers who usually have relatively low educational backgrounds, are aware of the problems that can result from their sexual behavior.
(China Daily January 16, 2006)