Chinese province launches AIDS project for gay men
July 29 2004 12:00 AM ET
China's Heilongiang province has launched the nation's first AIDS project targeting gay and bisexual men and has begun a survey aimed at determining the proportion of gay and bisexual men in the province who are infected with HIV, China's People's Daily reports. The survey was developed through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and China's health ministry. The province has already collected 1,300 anonymous questionnaires conducted online, and more than 300 gay men in the region have submitted blood or urine samples to be screened for HIV antibodies. Health officials plan to use data from the surveys to craft an HIV prevention program in the province to limit the number of HIV transmissions between gay and bisexual men. All gay men who test positive for HIV infection also will be provided with free antiretroviral drugs, according to provincial health officials. Ten other provinces in China are conducting similar health surveys and HIV prevention projects among heterosexuals, but Heilongjiang is the only province focusing on gay and bisexual men. The rural province is located in northeast China, has a population of about 35.4 million, and includes the cities of Mudanjiang and Harbin.