This goes down as one of the best pieces of news we heard all day: China is going to continue its more progressive bent towards AIDS/HIV awareness and has started a bunch of educational campaigns to inform higher risk groups – including sex workers, who don’t have any legal standing in the country despite their prevalence.
According to CNN, as many as 7 in every 100 sex workers in provinces like Yunnan have HIV. This is compared to a world average of 1 in every 200 sex workers.
And thanks to the popularity of the “pink” industry, current estimates show that some 30 to 50 million people in China are at significant risk for contracting the disease – especially since most of the rural population still has no idea how it can be prevented (Spread the word: there’s no such thing as an anti-AIDS injection yet).
“After years of these campaigns, we found out through survey that condom use is constantly increasing, especially in urban areas, the condom use can reach 70 percent or even up to 80 percent,” said Hao Yang, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Chinese Health Ministry’s Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.
But other areas are proving difficult. In rural parts of the country, the proportion of condom use among sex workers is less than 50 percent, Hao said…
“The sex workers living in remote areas and rural areas have played an important role in AIDS spreading. We do not have a precise figure for the proportion that sex workers make up in it (the spread of AIDS), but we can say that they are making up a significant proportion,” Hao said.
AIDS/HIV became China’s deadliest infectious disease earlier this year, claiming almost 7000 lives in the first nine months of 2008. Perhaps that statistic is what’s convinced the government to throw its weight behind more education.
Let’s hope that if they’re upping the protection of sex workers against STDs, then maybe, some day soon, they’ll be upping the protection of sex workers against things like murder too.
Photo of Anti-Aids Staff Disguised as Clients Help Prostitutes from Life of Guangzhou.