From January to October of this year, more than 1,800 foreigners in China have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, compared with a mere 1,500 cases from 2012 to 2014, a startling increase that is only expected to continue.
Yet, limited funding means that the government will be giving help mostly to just Chinese citizens, according to Wu Zunyou, head of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control & Prevention. That will leave a lot of sick expatriates out in the cold.
However, treatment specialist Zhao Yan from the center has revealed that exceptions will be made for those in Yunnan due to half of the total number of diagnosed foreigners residing in that province, many coming from such neighboring countries as Myanmar and Vietnam. Apart from Yunnan, Guangdong, Fujian and Beijing also have high numbers of foreigners diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
Since the establishment of its epidemics surveillance system in 2005, the center has diagnosed around 9,000 foreigners, most between 25 to 40 years of age. Half the number were infected through heterosexual sex, and the second largest percentage via intravenous drug use. Despite measures taken to solve the problem, affected numbers remain on the rise, as they do for China’s urban youth. Currently, there are 575,00 people living in China with HIV/AIDS with cases now becoming more common in the city than the countryside.
According to 2010’s census, some 600,000 foreigners were living in mainland China. Time will tell if these latest developments do anything to dampen the country’s foreign appeal.
By Pinky Latt