China has reported a surge in the number of people living with HIV.
As of June 2018, 821,000 people were living with HIV, according to Chinese state media. This compares to 720,000 in June 2017.
There were 40,104 new cases in the second quarter of the year alone. Experts presented the data at a national conference on HIV/AIDS in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
Significantly, 93 percent of newly reported infections were contracted through sex.
According to 2016 data from UNAIDS, 7.75 percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) in China are HIV positive.
In the past, the majority of China’s HIV cases were as a result of infected blood transfusions. In 2018, however, there were nearly zero new infections this way, according to Xinhua.
HIV among LGBTI in China
China decriminalized gay sex in 1997 and in 2001 declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
However, conservative, family-based attitudes mean discrimination of the LGBTI is rife.
Studies suggest that the majority of gay men will marry a woman.
This has created an acute problem in tackling HIV among MSM. Many LGBTI Chinese are not out at home or at work so it is hard to share information about HIV risk and safe sex practices.
There is currently no legislation to protect LGBTI people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.