China develops digital platform to promote HIV prevention among young people, earns UN recognition
Published: Nov 30, 2021 11:08 PM
Volunteers hand out materials on HIV prevention at a construction site in Hefei, East China’s Anhui Province on November 30, 2021. Photo: VCG

Volunteers hand out materials on HIV prevention at a construction site in Hefei, East China’s Anhui Province on November 30, 2021. Photo: VCG

A forum discussing HIV prevention among young people was held online on Tuesday, one day ahead of the 34th World AIDS Day. The forum, attended by China's top epidemiologist Wu Zunyou and UN officials, acknowledged Chinese LGBTQ platform BlueCity for its digital efforts to prevent the spread of HIV.

At the forum, Wu, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the world's AIDS infection rate has been on the decline while China's infection rate has remained stable, which is a positive trend.

The epidemiologist called on social forces to actively join in the prevention and treatment of the disease.

"UNAIDS witnessed the development of HIV prevention based on internet platforms in China and takes it as a classic case in Asia and around the world," Zhou Kai, policy and strategy adviser and officer in charge of UNAIDS in China, said at the forum.

Set to officially launch by the end of 2021, the LGBTQ platform will amplify its digital HIV prevention efforts with a #BePositive campaign in several markets around the world. The launch will be followed by a joint report with UNAIDS on digitally-enabled HIV prevention in China, an employee of the platform told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

To amplify this initiative, the platform will launch a dedicated campaign with the hashtag #BePositive on its app and social media platforms in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Brazil and Mexico, to promote protected sex and regular HIV testing. Already, the platform has partnered with local governments and health institutions in markets such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam to facilitate HIV testing, prevention and education.

BlueCity pioneered the concept of digitally-enabled HIV prevention in 2008 by integrating online and offline resources to streamline access to HIV testing, counseling and treatment. Its mobile APP possesses more than 6 million monthly active users.

According to a report from Cover News, 1,138,781 AIDS cases were reported in China in 2020, with an average of seven new cases discovered every hour.

Many places in China have held promotion activities to popularize the prevention and treatment of HIV in the run up to World AIDS Day on Wednesday, such as addressing middle school students about the disease's dangers in Qinhuangdao, North China's Hebei Province, according to the Xinhua News Agency.