Ahead of World AIDS Day, students in China get access to self-testing kits.

Ahead of World AIDS Day, students in China get access to self-testing kits

Students at Chengdu Southwest Petroleum University, in southwest China’s Sichuan Province have always been able to rely on the vending machines dotting their campus to grab boxes of instant
noodles, packs of potato chips, chocolate bars among other snacks. But as of late, students can also fetch an HIV testing kit so they can test themselves at their own convenience.
The move, which is an initiative by China’s STD & HIV Prevention Association, signals a shift towards a more open discussion of a controversial topic that has long been swept under the rug and kept on the hush mode.
It also presents yet another foray to raise awareness about the disease, and draws attention to the necessity of getting regularly checked, especially for those who are sexually active.
The urine test kits cost 30 yuan (less than 4.5 US dollars), and give young people an opportunity to anonymously check themselves, without the perceived hassle of heading to a health center or exposing their identities.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) has described the HIV/ AIDS situation in the country as a “mild pandemic,” with six out of every 10,000 people in China thought to be infected, according to official data from last year.
The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in China had hit 575,000 by the end of October 2015, with 177,000 deaths registered.
Infections among young people have been particularly alarming, as 2,662 new cases of students living with HIV/AIDS were reported in the first ten months of 2015 – a 27.8 percent increase year on year.
December 1 marks World AIDS Day, an occasion to show solidarity with those who have contracted and succumbed to the disease, to stand united to spread the knowledge, to brush off social stigmas that have long dogged HIV-positive people and to reject discrimination against them.


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