On November 27, 2017, the third National Conference on China Youth Aids Prevention and Education kicked off in Beijing marking the 30th anniversary of the World AIDS Day that falls on December 1.
Tens of millions of people across the globe suffer from HIV/AIDS, a highly infectious disease that poses risks to human health. How to prevent, treat, and cure HIV/AIDS is one of the goals of humanity. Although there is no vaccine to control the disease and no cure for it, taking anti-viral medicine keeps the virus under control.
In recent years, an increasing number of cases among Chinese youth has aroused wide public concern. Therefore, how to carry out sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention to teenagers is a crucial problem and challenge.
Amakobe Caroline Sande, UNAIDS Country Director & Representative for China, gave a positive response to China's efforts in preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS. She also stressed providing sex education to out-of-school adolescents.
She said that 17,000 Chinese people aged 15 to 27 were living with AIDS in 2016, almost twice as many as 2010. Moreover, teenagers out of school accounted for at least eighty percent of the number.
The representative said that 27% of Chinese AIDS patients were affected by sexual transmission between men and 68.5% through sexual intercourse between men and women. The traditional sexual transmission between both sexes was the leading factor. Students between 17-25 years old took up 80% of new cases due to male homosexual transmission. It showed that male-to-male sexual contact was the leading cause of the infection of AIDS in students.
In 2016, more than 37 million AIDS patients received treatment, but about 17 million didn't get medical attention and 1 million died. According to the statistics, it was impossible to achieve the goal that the United Nations hoped to see 500,000 or fewer new adult infections by 2020.
The famous educator Gu Mingyuan, honorary president of the Chinese Society of Education (CSE), said that the solution should be to raise awareness of disease prevention.
He said that sex education should be compulsory to the youth for AIDS prevention since there was no cure, despite Chinese people possibly feeling uncomfortable talking about "sex".
The conference was sponsored by the AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth (APEPCY), UNAIDS, China Red Ribbon Foundation, China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, and Chinese Association of STD and AIDS Prevention and Control.
- Translated by Karen Luo