Campus condom machines planned for Beijing

Health authorities plan to install condom vending machines on university campuses in Beijing this year to reduce the risk of infection among students, a key group affected by HIV/AIDS.

"We have communicated with the municipal education commission, and it is virtually certain that we can reach a consensus (on the issue)," health official XieHui said.

Xie, in charge of disease control and prevention at the Beijing Commission of Health and Family Planning, was speaking at a news conference.

Universities in the capital will also soon provide training sessions for new students on infectious diseases, which will focus on HIV/AIDS.

Xie did not say whether vending machine condoms will be free.

The Beijing commission also said in a report on Wednesday that health authorities in the city will explore ways this year to prevent HIV/AIDS being spread through sex in key groups at risk.

The number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Beijing has continued to rise in recent years, reaching 18,635 by the end of October, according to the commission.

The number of newly reported HIV/AIDS cases in the capital in the first 10 months of last year was 2,932, a year-on-year increase of 21.3 per cent. The figure included more than 100 students, the commission said.

Li Xin, an infectious disease expert at Beijing Ditan Hospital, said HIV infection among young people, including college students, has risen in recent years.

Li said many people, including some doctors, lack sufficient knowledge about HIV transmission. "I think the authorities need to improve publicity and education about HIV/AIDS," he added.