Yunnan says thousands of foreigners have HIV/AIDS
Southwest China’s Yunnan Province has reported 11,321 foreigners with HIV/AIDS as of 2017, which accounts for 56 percent of China’s total number of reported HIV/AIDS cases involving foreigners.
In the past five years, Yunnan reported 1,000 HIV-positive foreigners per year, and 80 percent were from Myanmar, who contracted HIV mainly through sex, Jia Manhong, a senior official at the Yunnan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Friday at the 5th National Conference on HIV/AIDS in Kunming, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
Jia revealed the statistics during her speech on HIV among foreigners and people involved in mixed marriages in Yunnan.
A Yunnan CDC survey of 151 foreigners with HIV/AIDS who stayed in Ruili in 2013, a border city with Myanmar, shows that 40 percent of them entered China illegally.
Yunnan has a 4,060-kilometer border with Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. The province is also close to the drug-producing Golden Triangle.
The first HIV-positive person in Yunnan, reported in 1987, was a foreign tourist, said Lu Lin, deputy director of the Health and Family Planning Commission of Yunnan.
“Foreigners with HIV/AIDS in China also pose a great threat to the Chinese people, as 30 percent of them who had sex with Chinese never used condoms,” Jia said.
The other high risk group is people in mixed marriages in Yunnan. Around 160,000 people are involved in mixed marriages in Yunan, with 76 percent involving Myanmar women married to Yunnan residents.
The Yunnan CDC study on the group found that 70 percent of the mixed couples failed to register their marriage at the local civil affairs department and 43 percent have married more than once, Jia said.
Yunnan health authorities offer an HIV test to around 200,000 foreigners a year, and have provided training to some 1,300 health workers from neighboring countries, Jia said.
“But due to a language barrier, insufficient policy, funds and mobility, it’s still difficult to offer health services to foreigners with HIV/AIDS,” Jia said. “We appeal to the government to improve border control.”