College gays new target in AIDS fight

Updated: 2014-01-01 16:13


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As a highly educated group, college MSMs should have good knowledge of HIV and AIDS, but they tend to be unwilling to use condoms during sexual behavior, according to experts.

Young people are more and more open toward sex, but they have poor self-control abilities, said Xu.

A recent survey of 61 male homosexuals in Guangzhou showed many gays had multiple sex partners, and 13 percent had more than 21 partners.

Less than half of them used condoms during sexual behavior and one-third of them still did not use condoms during sex even after they were confirmed to have been infected with HIV.

Awareness of sexual safety is lacking as many gays do not know HIV infection is common among the group, said Xu.

In another survey of 916 students -- 311 male and 605 female -- at a university in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, only 50 percent of the students knew that the use of condoms during sex and avoiding shared needles during drug use could prevent AIDS.

Among the 916 students, 53 reported a history of sexual behavior, two said they engaged in homosexual behavior, and nine had taken HIV tests.

HIV tests among college students are still quite rare. Disease control authorities have discovered some infection cases accidentally when screening voluntary blood donations.

Given the HIV situation in colleges, whether to carry out compulsory HIV tests or not has raised controversy.

In a recent college debate contest in Guangzhou, the team arguing against compulsory testing said it meant treating students like drug users and sex workers, which would lead to discrimination against this highly educated group.

The team arguing in favor of compulsory testing said it was impossible to know the exact HIV/AIDS situation among college students simply through voluntary tests, and people should just face up to the disease.

On China's popular online forum, a college student from Chongqing posted a true story about his HIV infection in August 2011, calling for more education on safe sexual behavior and AIDS prevention and treatment for college students.

"Nothing is more fearful than ignorance," said the man in his early 20s. "No one told me such a thing would happen to me ... I only want more attention to be given to AIDS prevention and treatment through my experience."