Sex workers, men who have sex with men, and rural-to-urban migrants : HIV prevention and key populations at higher risk in China

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis looks at government-led efforts to prevent the spread through sexual transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and thus the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the early 2000s, the PRC’s Ministry of Health implemented a 100 Per Cent Condom Programme (100 Per Cent CUP) in response to a documented increase in the domestic spread through sexual transmission of HIV in China. The 100 Per Cent CUP aims to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections by providing education about modes of HIV transmission to so-called ‘key populations at higher risk’ – sex workers, men who have sex with men and rural-to-urban migrant construction workers, and encouraging members of these key populations to use condoms when engaging in sexual intercourse. The success of this approach is contingent upon government authorities working collaboratively with members of key populations and stake-holders in relevant industries to empower them to regulate their own behaviours and act as peer educators in AIDS prevention. While based on strategies advocated by the World Health Organization, this approach has proved to be complicated in China because commercial sex is illegal, homosexuality is marginalized, and rural-to-urban migrant construction workers are viewed as second class citizens. Following the success of pilot versions of the 100 Per Cent CUP in the early 2000s, the PRC Government has fostered numerous AIDS education programmes built on open cooperation with workers involved in the illegal sex industry, men who have sex with men, and male rural-to-urban migrant construction workers. The implementation of these programmes has attracted heated debate in China’s media. Opponents argue that providing such programmes is equivalent to government acknowledgement and hence acceptance of illegal commercial sex and other socially taboo sexual behaviours. However, media coverage is also facilitating greater public awareness of modes of transmission of HIV and challenging social discrimination against some of the most marginalized population groups in China.
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