Status of HIV/AIDS:
Epidemiology and Treatment
As a result of China's economic boom as the last ten years, some traditionally capitalist enterprises such as the drug and sex industries have led to the increased risk of HIV infection. The traditionally reserved culture regarding sex, is forced to address the new problems of prostitution and the spread of AIDS. Large cities and fast growing coastal areas have been of most concern regarding the epidemic. Government health officials announced as of October, 1996 there were 5,517 cases of HIV infection in China. Experts estimate the actual number of HIV infections in China to be between 50,000 and 100,000.
Areas, such as the southern province of Guangdong, have reported a rise in the number of AIDS cases. A 25 percent increase was reported as a result of the growing sex industry. Health experts have warned the large threat of high HIV infection rates as the number of venereal disease cases explode.
The government is focusing its HIV prevention efforts on heterosexuals. Experts there predict that unprotected sex will become the main cause of the future spread of HIV. The disease is now transmitted in China mainly via IV drug use, sexual contact and from mother to child. China's huge migrant population, the general lack of knowledge about prevention, the continued existence of drug abuse and prostitution, the growing number of people with venereal diseases and ineffective prevention against infections through blood transfusions and from medical sources have all created opportunities for the spread of AIDS.

Prevention & Education:
Legislative policies have been made in attempt to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Maternal and Infantile Health Law, in effect since June 1, 1995, requires couples planning to wed to pass medical tests. Those with STD's may be barred from marrying.

Tougher rules have been implemented for handling blood products throughout the health industry with harsh punishments for violators. The regulations came upon the discovery last year of contaminated blood products in the southern province of Guangdong. Also in response to the tainted serum is a government crackdown on substandard medicine. The central government is routinely inspecting medicine in order to encourage the improvement in techniques and facilities in the pharmaceutical industry. China's Ministry of Public Health began a campaign to test all blood products and ban the sale of some type of produts.

Efforts have been made in regions of China where the risk of AIDS spreading is much greater. The southwest province of Yunnan has set up border quarantines in attempt to prevent the supposed "foreign" disease from entering from the bordering countries of Laos, Burma, and Vietnam. The provincial government spent 500 million yuan to protect its 2,500 mile border.

The growing sex industry has drawn the attention of government officials who are now requiring all of China's 517 sex shops to obtaina a business license. This formality is part of governmental attempt to oversee the sex instry and encourage prevention and education efforts in the spread of STD's and in particular HIV/AIDS. There is also a push to change sex ideology in China in efforts to break down cultural taboos regarding sex.

A particular potential risk group is Chinese youth. Obstacles have prevented a great deal of sex education in the adolescent population due to cultural sex taboos which forbid premarital sex. College students are of particular concern with one campus survey showing 20% of male students and 10% of female students had had sexual intercourse. With no acknowledgement of such activity there has been no opportunity for HIV/AIDS education until recently.

Women and HIV/AIDS in China
U.S.-China research program
Screening of Blood Supplies
China and World AIDS Day
China and Homosexuality

Treatment & Healing:

Traditional Chinese medicine is becoming more accepted in the Western biomedical community. Holistic methods towards health care are being demanded in the west and are now being researched in the east. The natural Chinese medicine works to guide the body and mind to a state of equilibrium as opposed to targeting the symptomology. Such methods of healing have been embraced in treating the ailments of full-blown AIDS.
A new medicinal treatment for AIDS has been found in the root of a gourd that is grown in southern China. The protein in the root in a purified form has been encouraging to many in the AIDS community.

More Links for Info.on Chinese Medicine:
Theories and Principles
History of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Experimental Research on Traditional Chinese Medicinal Herbs
Traditional Chinese Medical Informatic Laboratory
Institute for Traditional Medicine

Community Based Organizations:

National Health Education Institute
Building 12, District 1
Anhuaxili, Andingmenwai
Beijing 100011, P. R. China