By Beth Main.
Ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1st, a Beijing based NGO has offered 200 home HIV testing kits via its website for those afraid to enter the state treatment schemes.
Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Organization, which already offers a free HIV testing service in Beijing is now offering free home testing kit for those too scared to go to a hospital. The kit works like a home pregnancy test, using a saliva swab to test for HIV antibodies with results in just 20 minutes.
If the test is positive the patient will receive professional psychological assistance but ultimately would still need to enter state healthcare for a final test, and to get a licence to access treatment.
The NGO has stated that they plan to make this a long term service if the response is positive. Its main target groups are those at high risk of contracting HIV including intravenous drug users, sex workers and the city’s gay population.Their work begins with educating people about the risks and the prevention of HIV as well as extending to diagnosis and treatment.
NGOs serve an important role in combating HIV and AIDS in China, a country that only acknowledged the AIDS crisis in 2001, the same year it decided that homosexuality was not a mental disorder.
International charity Avert estimates that there are 740,000 people living with HIV in China, but there is probably an over-the-counter 5-year-plan for that.
HIV rates have risen among Chinese people aged 15 to 24 and those over 50, according to the Ministry of Health.
— Xinhua News Agency (@XHNews) November 28, 2012