Incredible vintage poster via 100 Years of Sex.
A 24 year old man in Wuhan has been for nine HIV tests after a one-night stand, and plans to go for more, according to the Wuhan Evening News.
The man, surnamed Song, had unprotected sex with a woman in October and is apparently “haunted” by the fear that he might have contracted HIV, despite nine tests carried out at Wuhan Central Hospital stating the opposite.
In November the man bought a home testing kit at a pharmacy which said he was HIV positive. Doctors told the man to trust them, rather than the testing paper, but suspect he will be back again soon.
Senior government officials recently advocated using patients’ real names during HIV/AIDS treatment, there are also calls for those who test positive should be obliged to inform their spouses or sex partners.
“HIV carriers might spread the virus to others through unprotected sex or in other ways. Under such circumstances, should we protect the privacy of the carriers, or control the epidemic and protect public health?” said Wang Yu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV/AIDS advocates worry that a real-name system will have the opposite to its intended effect, causing people to refrain from testing out of fear that they will be outed in a society that still greatly stigmatises HIV-positive people.
There are an estimated 780,000 people living with HIV in China, of which 156,000 have developed AIDS. 28,000 people died from AIDS related illnesses in 2012, according to the Ministry of Health.
Wang Yu emphasised that real-name testing could ensure that those who test positive are informed as soon as possible. The odds of an HIV-positive person passing on the virus can is reduced by up to 70 percent once they are told of their positive status.
“As far as I know, many HIV carriers in my community think it is not feasible,” said Ren Shaopeng of the Secretariat of the China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS, “If the real-name system leaks their information, when their work places, family members and relatives find out, their lives would be fractured.”
The Chinese medical profession has an extremely fractious relationship with the public, and many patients simply do not trust hospitals or doctors to maintain the confidentiality required by law. Needless to say, any measure that might prevent or dissuade people from being tested for HIV should be avoided.