Tuesday, August 9, 2011

AIDS on the rise among elderly Chinese men

The news that an 80-year man was recently diagnosed with HIV should come as no surprise. To quote a report in China Daily, "Experts say the spread of HIV/AIDS has picked up among older Chinese men in recent years because China's senior citizens have become healthier, more open-minded about sex, and increasingly bored after retirement."

A recent survey conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) shows that among the new HIV infections, the percentage of people aged 50 or above with it grew from 7.8 to 14.9 percent. (Photo: An elderly man reads a brochure on AIDS prevention. Source: China Daily)

Source: China Daily
Easy access to Viagra and the availability of cheap commercial sex are other factors that are contributing to the rise in HIV among elderly men in China. The oldest patient tracked by the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control is 94 years old.

According to a paper published in 2009 by Professor Joseph Lau of the Chinese University of HongKong, there are 4 to 10 million female sex workers in China. Some of these women charge as little as 20 to 50 yuan (USD3 to USD7), and they usually attract elderly men and migrant workers.

Many of these elderly men with HIV are widowers. They turn to prostitutes for sex because their adult children prevent them from remarrying for fear of losing their inheritance. Some patients complain their wives are no longer interested in sex, so they seek it elsewhere.

Anti-AIDS and safe sex campaigns are mostly directed at the younger generation. The government is encouraging more NGOs and health officials to include the elderly in their safe sex awareness campaigns in a move to curb the rise in HIV among China's ageing men.

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