hiv test

HIV Spreading at an Alarming Rate in China

Young gay men most at risk

HIV transmission continues to rise at an alarming rate in China, with its largest rates of transmission affecting young, gay Chinese men.

Male-to-male sexual HIV transmission of all youth cases in China increased from 58.5 percent to 81.6 percent in 2015, said Wang Lu of the National Center for STD Control.

Meanwhile, the average age of HIV-positive patients has dropped over the past five years, with 15 to 24 year-old making up 35 percent of all new cases. The National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 2,200 new HIV cases were reported among students over the age of 15 in 2015, compared to 1,772 the year before.

In 2013, only five provinces reported more than 100 HIV-positive students, a number that increased to 10 in 2014. The People’s reported that this trend continued in 2015, but did not disclose any specific details. The alarming rise is also readily seen by the doubling of new HIV-positive patients reported in 2014 as compared to 2008 numbers.

One possible reason rates of HIV transmission is rising in China may be because testing for the illness is becoming more acceptable among marginalized communities who fear the stigma and discrimination associated with AIDS. Outreach programs are using mobile testing units and self-testing kits to reach out to China’s gay communities.

This past May, leaked information about HIV-sufferers in China were used by a phone scam that tried to collect “government subsidies for the HIV-infected.”

Out of Shanghai’s over 1,800 reported HIV cases last year, 70 percent reportedly involve gay men.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 575,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China. UNAIDS data puts that figure at 780,000.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor