A Renmin University-run, UNAIDS-sponsored survey on AIDS in China was just completed last week, and some of the results were very surprising:
- 30 percent said children suffering from HIV/AIDS should not be allowed to attend school
- 65 percent were not willing to stay in the same room as a sufferer
- 48 percent would not share a meal
- 48 percent thought they could contract HIV from a mosquito bite
- 18 percent thought they could contract HIV by having an HIV positive person sneeze or cough on them
- 30 percent did not know how to use a condom correctly
The survey polled Chinese from four major demographics (migrant workers, blue collar workers, white collar workers and youth) in six major cities (Kunming, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Beijing) about their attitudes towards AIDS and those suffering from the disease. The full report can be found here.
Dr. Bernhard Schwartländer, UNAIDS China Country Coordinator, said of the report, “These data are really a cause for concern. We see that there are still many misconceptions around AIDS in the population, which contribute to stigma and discrimination…Though people know that HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex many still do not protect themselves with a condom when engaging in risk behaviour.”
HIV-positive South African Justice Edwin Cameron also spoke on the survey in Beijing, adding that “the Chinese government has a good treatment program. But there is a disturbing pattern here: 35-40,000 people in China are receiving antiviral treatment but more than double that number need treatment.”
According to UNAIDS, approximately 700,000 Chinese live with HIV, and it’s estimated that 85,000 of them have developed AIDS. Last year alone, 50,000 new infections occurred and an estimated 20,000 died as a result. The number one cause of HIV infections in China is sexual transmission.