BEIJING (Reuters) - Only 3.8 percent of Chinese know how
HIV/AIDS is transmitted, according to a
survey of 3,824 people in cities and villages throughout China.
The Guangming Daily said on Thursday the survey by the Ministry
of Health and the People's University of China asked people
aged between 20 and 64 if HIV/AIDS could be transmitted through
blood, semen, the air, food and from touching the skin of an
Only 3.8 percent correctly identified blood and semen as the
only ways to become infected with HIV/AIDS, the newspaper said.
It said the survey, published on the eve of World AIDS Day,
showed that 53.6 percent thought they could become infected by
using chopsticks and bowls after an HIV-positive person had
Another 49.5 percent thought they could become infected after
sneezing and 29.5 percent through shaking hands.
And 45.3 percent thought that using a condom would not prevent
"It's worrying that people are unclear about the ways AIDS is
transmitted and severely fear AIDS appearing," Professor Bo
Suiming of the People's University was quoted as saying.
Efforts to promote sex education and the use of condoms often
run into a wall of conservative attitudes in China.
Advertising or promoting condoms is also seen as encouraging
promiscuity and China's first national condom advert was banned
initially last year because promoting sex products conflicted
with China's social conventions and morals.
HIV/AIDS sufferers often experience prejudice from neighbors
and workers. A man named Hu, whose family became infected after
his wife was given a blood transfusion in a hospital when she
gave birth, was told by his boss to "go home and get better,"
rather than go to the office, the Beijing Evening Daily said
The Health Ministry is aware of the problem, said Edwin Judd,
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF )
representative in China.
Vice Health Minister "Yin Dakui was very forthright about this
problem, beseeching the press to take this message out about
the emergency nature of this problem," Judd told Reuters in a