• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    HIV in China

    The failure of a lot of the larger Asian countries to do something about their emerging AIDS problem–while places such as Thailand, which as a sex trip destination got hit very soon after the US did, have gotten theirs more or less under control–is in the news very frequently here. The latest story is that the PRC is making gingerly moves toward dealing with what everyone acknowledges is an AIDS disaster waiting to happen:

    A study funded by the Chinese government shows few men who have sex with men have an understanding of how the disease is transmitted.

    At least 80 percent of the men surveyed believed they were not at risk the official People’s Daily reports.

    The survey, conducted by the center of AIDS control and prevention found that only about 20 percent of those questioned knew how HIV/AIDS is spread.

    The survey was conducted in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. Information was largely collected from pubs, parks, public bathrooms, squares, cyber cafes and other public places.

    The survey method was obviously not very scientific, so who knows how reliable the numbers are? But it’s not unusual in Asia to believe that you’re only at risk for HIV infection if you have sex with Westerners–a pattern that goes triple for the Japanese, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, AIDS first gained publicity as the sort of disease you find in big, crime-ridden American and European cities, which gave it the image of something that safe and orderly Japan, which in addition has a world-renowned health care system and traditional cleanliness fetish that make it feel insulated, would not be vulnerable to. Men who bring the disease back from business trips to Southeast Asian countries in which prostitution is easily available are the most commonly discussed way the virus has entered Japan, and the fact that the Japanese blood supply was still tainted long after the West had cleaned its up was highly publicized for a while. But people get complacent, and in my experience, a lot of Japanese gay guys are pretty blasé about STD’s in general. No one is really sure what the infection rate is here, but it’s pretty much a given that it’s higher than the official figures.

    Another, not really related, article on 365Gay reports that Andy Bell of Erasure is HIV positive. I’m not a fan–his singing always sounds to me like Phil Collins trying to imitate Alison Moyet (who is a favorite of mine)–but he’s been one of the most out men in popular culture for years and years, and while I don’t think he and his partner had an obligation to make this particular revelation, it’s nice that they decided to.

    Comments are closed.