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A Step Forward For Gays in China

Updated on September 23, 2008
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Sunshine is a wife, mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and author.

China finally takes its HIV/AIDS epidemic seriously
China finally takes its HIV/AIDS epidemic seriously

According to China's Ministry of Health, China will launch it's first ever HIV/AIDS prevention program. Before 1997, sodomy was a crime; therefore homosexual males were charged and sent to prison. When sodomy was decriminalized, there were no laws against gays, so gay men no longer had to live in fear.

The Chinese government's stance became similar to the United States ‘don't ask, don't tell' policy in the military. China followed the ‘three no's': No approval, no disapproval, and no promotion. This program is just one step towards a new attitude on homosexuality.

In recent studies, China learned that gay sex accounted only for 0.4 percent of new HIV infections in 2005. Since then, it has risen to 3.3 percent in 2007. This information troubled the Chinese government, and spawned the need for a prevention plan.

In the 90s, China finally started to realize they had a crisis on their hands with HIV and AIDS. All authorities agree that China has ignored the problem until recently. Many hospitals were not even equipped to treat AIDS.

Data provided by UNAIDS, the United Nation's HIV/AIDS program, ten million people will be infected by 2010 if China doesn't do something about the growing problem. Even though only eleven percent of the population contracts the virus through gay sex, when you look at the population, as of 2007 being 1,321,851,888, it makes you wonder why it took so long for the government to provide a prevention plan.


Although not a crime, homosexuality is still looked down upon. There are not laws to protect them from being discriminated against. In the recent past, gays were picked up by police and charged with other crimes such as disturbing the public order. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness.

People fighting for gay rights in China were ignored, and charged with any crime the government could come up with. Since the first AIDS hotline in 1992, which was shut down a year later because the founder fought for gay rights, the new HIV/AIDS prevention program of 2008 is the most significant step for gays in China yet.


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    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      10 years ago from San Francisco

      One wonders if China will make a turnaround in their policy towards homosexuality like Singapore, when they read a report that places with high gay populations are economically more productive.


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