Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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HIV, AIDS Cases Among College Students in China on Rise

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HIV/AIDS cases among college students in China have increased in the recent years, with majority involving gay men, based on a report in the People's Daily.

According to China's Health and Family Planning Commission, the growth rate of HIV/AIDS infection among students surpassed that of other groups. An estimated 81.6 percent of these cases affected gay men.

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Such trend, however, is reflected across the country. For instance, the city of Nanchang in Jiangxi province saw a 43 percent increase over the past five years. And more than 80 percent of which involved homosexual men, the People's Daily reported.

Furthermore, in Beijing, at least 100 new cases were reported every year among young students, while Shanghai has reported 92 new cases of HIV infection in 2015.

The number of HIV-infected students between 15 and 24 years has seen an annual growth rate of 35 percent over the past five years, Wu Zunyou, head of HIV/AIDS Prevention Center, noted.

Although the figures are causing worry among health authorities and prompting criticism for failure to implement effective measures, the World Health Organization has called on the Chinese government to increase the security of health information and remove stigma for people with HIV.

 "The intention [of the health authorities] is good, but it's easy to cause panic because in the Chinese context, there is little knowledge of homosexuality and a lot of misunderstanding," Allen Chen, founder of advocacy group Friend Public Welfare, said. "As a result, the gay students are depicted as high-risk and thus are further stigmatized," he said.

Meanwhile, China recently announced it will be offering free antiretroviral therapy and also unveiled its plan to make HIV self-test kits easily accessible.

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