Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bar or Clinic?

Other than stating this is a gay bar in the first sentence, there is no mention of anything bar related, such as booze or entertainment. If this is more an information centre, drop in clinic, or social community centre then the appropriate terminology should be used. Either way it's a step in the right direct for this communist regime.

Read on....

China's first official gay bar has opened after a three-week delay sparked by intense media attention.

Opening on Saturday evening, the bar is situated in the tourist town of Dali in the southwestern province of Yunnan. It is the first venue of its kind to receive government backing.

The project, which was due to be opened on World AIDS day on December 1st, aims to provide help and support for the LGBT community as well as provide information on HIV/AIDS prevention.

Last year China's Ministry of Health implemented its first ever national programme to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS among gay men.

The programme marked a subtle new phase in the one-party-state's attitudes towards homosexuality since sodomy was decriminalised in 1997: No approval, no disapproval and no promotion.

The bar, which was founded by Dali HIV/AIDS charity worker Zhang Jianbo, was given 120,000 yuan (£10,000) of financial support from the government.

China's health ministry warned earlier this month that homosexual transmission of HIV/AIDS was gaining pace.

Gay sex accounted for just 0.4 percent of new infections in 2005, but that figure had risen to 3.3 per cent by 2007.

Of the estimated 700,000 Chinese people living with HIV or AIDS, 11 per cent contracted the virus through gay sex, according to Ministry of Health figures.

Zhang, a doctor at a hospital in Dali, said in an earlier interview that raising awareness of the disease among the gay community was "extremely important".

The official China Daily newspaper said in 2005 that the number of gays in China came to around 30 million, although it conceded few were willing to acknowledge their sexuality.

While homosexuality is still officially classified as a "mouldering life style of capitalism" in the officially communist state, there are no laws against gay sex or lifestyles. Neither are there any laws protecting Chinese gays from discrimination.

In other related news...

The fight against HIV in Asia could be greatly assisted if countries moved to legalise homosexuality, according to a leading Chinese AIDS activist.

Zhen Li of the Tong Zhi awareness group was speaking at a three-day forum hosted by Hong Kong's Department of Health, the World Health Organisation, the UNDP and the Joint UN Programmes on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

"Between 2005 and 2008 China made huge progress in addition to working with civil society as partners," Li said.

In 2001 homosexual acts were decriminalised, allowing HIV prevention workers to work more openly with men who have sex with men.

Asia's second most populous country, India, is considering decriminalisation.

"As long as these laws are in effect it will push people into dark places," Li said.

In China, the risk of infection by men who have sex with men is 45 times higher than for men in general.

Asia is believed to have the world's largest number of men having sex with men, estimated at 10 million.

A recent UNAIDS report showed that targeted prevention interventions are reaching only 1% of the MSM population.
The report also showed that in most countries in Asia and the Pacific, national strategic plans for HIV/AIDS do not cover interventions for MSM and transgender individuals.

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