The coastal city of Dalian has ordered all entertainment places
to display and sell condoms in an effort to fight against the
deadly HIV/AIDS virus.
Although in line with the national drive to stop the spread of
the virus from high-risk people to the general public, city
authorities have taken it a step further.
Those who fail to provide condoms will face a penalty of between
500 yuan (US$64) and 5,000 yuan.
"Increasing condom use at entertainment places will bring
HIV/AIDS infections under control and prevent its further spread,"
said Tong Wei, HIV/AIDS prevention office chief of Dalian Disease
Prevention and Control Center, yesterday.
The city launched its 100 Percent Condom Use Program in the
middle of last year.
It makes condoms compulsory for all sex-workers in the city and
for those who work at entertainment centers.
Liaoning health department figures show there are 636 reported
HIV/AIDS cases, and 34.99 percent contracted the virus through
unsafe sex in the province.
In the past year, Dalian has seen a 46.67 percent increase in
HIV/AIDS, unprotected sex being the major cause. Local authorities
declined to give a figure.
Tong warned that there would be more unprotected sex as people
become more open and international.
The floating populations of cities add to the problem.
A slew of measures are in place under the province's condom-use
program. These include face-to-face interviews with sex workers,
counseling, and distribution of AIDS information and condoms.
The program is a joint effort by the Chinese Ministry of Health
and the World Health Organization.
It has been implemented on a trial basis in Hubei Province's Wuhan, Jiangsu Province's Jingjiang, Hainan Province's Danzhou and Hunan Province's Lixian County.
Ministry of Health statistics show that the number of reported
HIV/AIDS cases grew to 203,527 nationwide by April this year.
(China Daily June 13, 2007)