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Last Updated: Friday, 11 July, 2003, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
China launches 'sex website'
Chinese public awareness
China could face an Aids disaster
China has launched what is believed to be the first website aimed at giving young Chinese people advice on sexual health.

The interactive service, You and Me, is supported by the United Nations and aims to encourage young people to discuss openly their sexual relations and other sexual matters.

Correspondents say most Chinese people have limited access to accurate information about sex, and the government is worried about the spread of Aids and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

Leading experts on infectious diseases say China and India - the world's two most populous countries - are facing a potential Aids disaster.

Sexual activity outside marriage has increased and this has increased young people's vulnerability to HIV and Aids
Liu Liqing, MSIC
China says it has at least a million people with Aids, but the UN estimates this could reach 10 million by the end of the decade.

Shared use of intravenous needles by drug users and infection through contaminated blood donations account for about three-quarters of current cases in China.

Vulnerability

The new website is supported by the non-profit organisation Marie Stopes International China (MSIC).

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative to China, Siri Tellier, said the website would also serve to "allow young people to connect with each other even across the national borders".

"Although young people in general are healthier than other age groups, they have specific risks that are related to their behaviour," Ms Tellier said.

Young people were now more at risk because there was "a wider gap between puberty and marriage" and "increased sexual activity outside marriage", according to Liu Liqing, the MSIC China representative.

Unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions are also a problem the new website seeks to tackle.

Early this month, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Julie Gerberding, said the Aids situation in China and India was akin to what Africa experienced a decade ago.

She said: "If we don't intervene in those environments we will have a catastrophe of a very, very profound increase in the number of cases.

"We are truly globalised and if one person in a country is vulnerable, every one is vulnerable. If one country is vulnerable then the world is vulnerable."




SEE ALSO:
Dangers behind China's sexual revolution
12 Mar 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China, India face Aids disaster
03 Jul 03  |  Health
Are needles spreading HIV?
27 Jun 03  |  Health
India Aids awareness urged
26 Nov 02  |  Health
China's Aids victims 'exceed one million'
28 Nov 01  |  Asia-Pacific
India 'can prevent Aids epidemic'
14 Nov 02  |  South Asia


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