Survey Finds HIV/AIDS Discrimination Widespread in China

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 1 2008 12:23 PM

Most adults discriminate against HIV/AIDS patients, shows a survey based on six major cities in China.

The survey, which covered 6,000 people, was conducted from February to March conducted by Renmin University of China.

The financial and technical support was provided to them by UNAIDS.

In the study, 30 percent said children suffering from HIV/AIDS should not be allowed to attend school, 65 percent were not willing to stay in the same room as a sufferer, and 48 percent would not share a meal with them, reports the China Daily.

"HIV/AIDS discrimination must be eliminated in order to encourage sufferers to seek treatment," Edwin Cameron, a South African AIDS prevention expert, said.

According to Bernhard Schwartlander, United Nations country coordinator on HIV/AIDS in Beijing, the virus is not unmanageable medically, and people seeking treatment can keep it under control.

However, some people refuse to seek treatment, because they are afraid to let others know of their illness.

"People I have encountered in China have told me they suffer from discrimination, and some of them have stopped in the middle of treatment," Cameron said.

"People die from it and I think it is a tragedy as the Chinese government provides good programs," the expert added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS can decrease globally with proper and timely treatment.