More AIDS awareness needed

Updated: 2014-12-01 07:33

(China Daily)

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On the 27th World Aids Day on Monday, it is easy to brag about what we've achieved in the fight against the virus, but that does little to help locate where more urgent efforts are needed.

Despite the drop in HIV infections by almost 40 percent globally since 2001 and AIDS-related deaths by 35 percent since their peak in 2005, the number of new AIDS infections and patients from January to October this year was 2,932 in Beijing, a 21.3 percent increase over the same period the previous year. The national statistics are not available yet.

What is particularly worrying is the increase in AIDS infections among students. From January to October this year, the capital reported more than 100 cases of infections among students. In the same period, 10 other provinces have also reported more than 100 students infected with the virus.

Five provinces reported more than 100 students infected with the virus last year. The youngest one is only 14 years old in North China's Hebei province.

It is a reality then the HIV virus is spreading among students, and not just university students but students in middle schools. How can this be?

On the one hand, the social media network has greatly increased the opportunities for homosexuals to get in contact with each other and have sex, which has increased the possibility of homosexuals being infected with the HIV virus. Statistics suggests homosexuals account for 73. 5 percent of people infected in Beijing. On the other hand, the lack of sex education has resulted in a lack of AIDS awareness among them.

In the majority of Chinese primary, middle schools and even universities, there are almost no sex education courses, and HIV/AIDS awareness is far from enough. A survey in Guangzhou shows that only 40 percent of students on campus have received any knowledge about AIDS.

So it is not enough to just raise the issue when World AIDS Day is observed, instead, it is something that should attract serious attention from the government, parents and schools.

Students should be instructed about the disease and safe sex. We should no longer take it for granted that sex, safe sex in particular, is something that everyone finds out about by themselves. The cost will be prohibitively high otherwise.

And if so many students, university ones in particular, know little about safe sex and about how to take precautions against the disease, how can we expect other ordinary people to know?

It is obvious that awareness about HIV and AIDS is far from enough.

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