HIV/AIDS epidemic has largely been identified among high-risk
groups (sex workers, injecting drug users, men who have
sex with men). The most common mode of HIV transmission
is through needle sharing among drug users. However transmission
through sexual intercourse is rising and is likely to
become the major mode of transmission.
In China, there are 300 million children and young
people under the age of 25. Attitudes and behaviour
in young people are changing very rapidly as the country
modernizes. Young people start to have sex at a much
younger age than earlier generations. Their knowledge
about HIV/AIDS is very low. Surveys among university
students show that less than 50% know the three major
transmission routes of HIV. At present there is no
accurate information on how many young people are vulnerable
to HIV infection.
Presently in China, there is no comprehensive nation
wide programme regarding HIV/AIDS and young people.
China’s reaction to HIV/AIDS and concern for
young people is focused on general instruments such
as information dissemination by mass media and condom
social marketing. But there are also some instruments
directly related to young people. China ratified several
international conventions (ICPD, UNGASS on HIV/AIDS
Declaration of Commitment [DoC]) in which specific
targets for young people are mentioned. China also
developed a Medium- and Long-term Plan on HIV/AIDS
(1997-2010) and a Five Year Action Plan (2001-2005).
Activities are focused on providing HIV prevention
education in schools (secondary schools and higher
For the UNFPA China Country Office, young people are
an important target group. UNFPA focuses its HIV/AIDS
initiatives for youth on prevention and supports three
kinds of activities: advocacy, life skills, training/peer
education, and HIV/AIDS prevention education in-schools.
The China Family Planning Association, with support from
UNFPA, is implementing ASRH advocacy activities (2003-2005).
The advocacy approaches address decision-makers at the
national and provincial levels. Also, youth seminars
and media campaigns are supported at both the national
and local level to promote youth RH, and to share experiences
and enhance public awareness. The trainings include information
on sexual development; RH and contraceptives, including
abstinence and use of condoms within the local context;
the need for gender equality; and information on STIs
and HIV/AIDS and locally available services. Furthermore,
young people will learn life skills to empower themselves,
how to handle social and peer pressure, and how to communicate.
Service providers in the project counties will be trained
specifically to deal with young people in a friendly
and respectful manner.