Category Archives: China

How can Chinese MSM take action when there is such stigma?

So steering away from North American circuit parties, and the new HIV policy in the US, I turn to China.  While I must admit I have never been to China, recent articles in the news, (and here ) have noted the rising number of new infections among MSM (and the general population – China now records about 700,000 people who are HIV positive).  According to Dr. Yip, director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation HIV program in China “We need the MSM group to engage their community to take part in the intervention.”   According the article, MSM transmission accounted for 32.5 percent of China’s total HIV/AIDS infections, up from only 0.4 percent in 2005.  The Gates Foundation has pledged $50 million USD to the China program, part of which will be used to fund NGOs that work with high risk populations such as MSM in large cities.

While Dr. Yip’s statement may be true, my problem is, is that such action is difficult for individuals to take in apolitically repressed nation (although there have been signs of openness such as lessening of restrictions on the Internet).  Gay rights have been known to be less than stellar in China, as police have been noted to shut down small gay and lesbian cultural gatherings and pageants and the government fails to screen gay media. While there is a “gay scene” in China with bars and all that accompany such things, the government discourages  gays in uniting for social change.  If gays can’t come together to socialize openly, they sure as hell won’t come together to be agents of health promotion.  So perhaps a good step would be to provide funding, in tandem with this HIV funding, to continue to advance the cause of gay rights in this communist state.  Then perhaps, gays can band together to fight the rising epidemic of HIV among the Chinese MSM community.