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First Condom Ad Appears on China TV


BEIJING (AP) - China has debuted its first television advertisement ever for condoms in an effort to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the AIDS virus, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

The ad began airing Sunday on China Central Television's Channel 1, which has a nationwide audience of hundreds of millions, Xinhua reported. The ad is intended to show that condoms are a safe, convenient and effective way to block the AIDS virus and sexually transmitted diseases.

China has been trying to curb the growth of the world's largest population since the late 1970s, but public discussion of sex and contraceptives has been rare, reflecting traditional social taboos.

Local police in some parts of China have forbidden efforts to make condoms available at hotels and in stores, arguing it would only encourage prostitution, Xinhua said. But the government and health officials in particular have in recent years strongly backed promoting condom use to fight AIDS.

China has an estimated 400,000 people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, most of them intravenous drug users. Health experts fear AIDS could spread quickly, given that China reported 630,000 cases of sexually transmitted diseases in 1998 and the true figure is believed to be ten times higher.

Condoms have been available in drug stores and other shops since the late 1980s in Beijing and other cities. But nationally contraceptives mainly are dispensed by the State Family Planning Commission free of charge to married couples.


Copyright © 1999 -Associated Press, Publisher. All rights reserved to Associated Press. Reproduction of this article (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through the AP Permissions Desk.

Information in this article was accurate in November 29, 1999. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.