The number of teenage Guangzhouers with AIDS has increased at terrifying rate over the past decade, with the number of students confirmed to have the disease reaching 231 in 2014, according to a report by the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention (GCDCP).
Consider that in 2002, students with AIDS accounted for only 0.74 percent of the total AIDS percentage in Guangzhou, while last year it jumped to 3.91 percent, reported the Ming Pao Daily.
According to the Hong Kong Economic Journal, of the 231 documented cases, 36 were high school students and 74 were attending university. We are fully aware these numbers don’t add up (36 + 74 = 110 - not 231) and it's unclear where the remaining 110 cases fit into the education puzzle.
The study also notes, sadly, that four of the schools surveyed had over 10 confirmed cases…each.
Most of these AIDS cases – a startling 74.76 percent – are the result of sexual intercourse between men (MSM), according to the GCDCP report.
The rise of youth AIDS in the city is being largely blamed on lack of proper sexual education and more liberal attitudes towards sex. In 2011, just 6.48 percent of Guangzhou teenagers claimed to have had a sexual experience; this has jumped to 16.35 percent in 2014 – almost a 10 percent increase in just three years.
Even more troubling, 1.21 percent of respondents declared they have had sex for money, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
The same article states that an estimated 5,000 teenagers in the city have had MSM encounters – with less than 30 percent going for HIV tests.
Other activities blamed for the rise of AIDS include unprotected sex, group sex and drug use.
In an effort to combat the spread of AIDS, the local government released an educational action plan on November 9, aimed at increasing awareness about the disease. Part of the action plan will include random spot checks every year by government education and social security departments to measure the success of the new program, according to Yibada.
The plan will be carried out until 2018.
[Image via Reuters]