Authorities are working on China's first national program to
curb the spread of HIV/AIDS among gay men, the Ministry of Health
said in its 2008 work agenda released yesterday.
The program aims to strengthen measures to prevent and control
the deadly disease among the homosexual community, Wang Weizhen,
deputy director of the HIV/AIDS prevention department under the
ministry's disease control bureau, told China Daily.
"By learning more about gay people, we can better protect them
against this incurable disease," Wang said.
"Studies are under way in several cities to collect information
on gay men, such as their distribution and behavioral patterns,"
Other measures, including special funding, technical support and
information sharing, are also included in the program, she
China has between 5 million and 10 million gay men, who are in
the highest risk group of contracting HIV and AIDS, Wu Zunyou,
director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and
And the number of new infections among this group is rising
drastically, he said.
According to figures from the Ministry of Health, of the 700,000
Chinese living with HIV/AIDS, 11 percent of them contracted the
virus through gay sex.
And the situation is getting worse, Wu said.
In 2005, homosexual sex accounted for just 0.4 percent of all
new infections reported. Last year, the figure had risen to 3.3
percent, he said.
Despite existing regulations and measures to curb the spread of
the disease, new programs targeting special groups, such as gay
men, should be developed, he said.
"This is good news for China's gay community," Xiao Dong, who
heads a Beijing-based information support group, told China
"The government is beginning to take this long-neglected segment
of society into consideration in a bid to combat this deadly
disease," he said.
(China Daily February 21, 2008)