Guangzhou renews push for HIV/AIDS prevention

Guangzhou issued an educational action plan to enhance HIV/AIDS prevention on campuses and curb rapidly increasing HIV infections among youths.

The first HIV infection among students in Guangzhou was detected in 2002.

Altogether, 231 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported since 2002 up to the end of 2014, with an average annual increase of 46.4 per cent, according to the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The centre posted an action plan on its website on Monday designed to raise awareness among students. The plan will be carried out until 2018, the centre said.

Students infected with HIV/AIDS in Guangzhou represented 0.74 per cent of the total infected population in the city in 2002 and rose to 3.91 per cent in 2014, according to the action plan.

The rise was related to the quickening spread of HIV/AIDS in the general population beyond drug users, Wang Ming, director of Guangzhou CDC, told Guangzhou Daily.

Sex between males was responsible for 172 of the 231 reported HIV/AIDS cases among students in Guangzhou - nearly three quarters - and the proportion "is still growing rapidly", Wang said.

According to the action plan, more than 5,000 students in Guangzhou can be classified as men having sex with men and involving many high-risk sexual behaviours.

These included a low rate of condom use, drug abuse, multiple sex partners, infection of sexually transmitted diseases and group sex.

Guangzhou has been stepping up efforts to persuade high-risk groups of students to be tested for HIV infections.

About 41 per cent of the reported cases have been detected through voluntary checkups.

However, the education of youths on HIV/AIDS prevention still needs to be improved to meet national standards.

According to the Guangzhou CDC, 92.84 per cent of the students in Guangzhou had knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment based on data gathered in 2014. That's slightly lower than 95 per cent required by the central government.

According to the action plan, all secondary schools, vocational schools and universities should provide courses on HIV/AIDS prevention and promote knowledge through a variety of media, including bulletin boards, websites and radio.

Government education and social security departments will conduct spot checks on at least 1 per cent of the schools under their supervision every year.

Of the 231 HIV/AIDS cases among students reported in Guangzhou, 165 included school information. The students came from 74 schools, including 38 universities, 29 vocational schools and seven secondary schools.

Fifty-four of the 74 are located in Guangzhou, mainly in the districts of Tianhe, Panyu and Baiyun, where secondary schools and universities are concentrated. Four of the 54 have reported more than 10 cases each.