China to Launch "State-run AIDS Radio Programme" Showing Openness

by Trilok Kapur on  January 11, 2010 at 7:03 AM AIDS/HIV News   - G J E 4
China's media said Sunday, top state-run radio network will launch a programme about AIDS featuring an HIV-positive host in the latest sign of a new official openness towards the disease.
 China to Launch
China to Launch "State-run AIDS Radio Programme" Showing Openness

The weekly programme, "Positive Talks", will air each Saturday beginning January 16 on China National Radio, Xinhua news agency reported.

It will deal with "publicising knowledge on HIV/AIDS and prevention and control of the disease", Xinhua said, quoting the radio station's chief editor Yang Wenyan.

Yang expected the program to give more "attention, care, and support" to China's legions of HIV-infected people, Xinhua said.

No information on the programme could be found on China National Radio's website and AFP could not immediately reach network officials involved with it.

The government has long been accused of stifling discussion of the nation's HIV/AIDS problem, while homosexuality has for decades been a taboo subject in China.

But a number of signs have emerged that the government is gradually becoming more comfortable addressing such issues openly.

In 2007, China allowed the first televised ad campaign promoting the use of condoms to stem HIV.

In November, the health ministry and United Nations launched an ad campaign against HIV discrimination featuring basketball star Yao Ming. Last month China's first government-approved gay bar opened in the southwestern city of Dali.

Until 2001, China's communist rulers classified homosexuality as a mental illness.

But AIDS experts say authorities are being forced to deal more openly with such issues in a bid to stem the disease.

China's health ministry estimated that at the end of 2009, 740,000 people were living with HIV in the country but experts say the true figure is much higher than the official tally, which refers only to confirmed cases.

The United Nations has estimated between 30 and 50 million people may be at risk from the disease in China.

Source: AFP

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