Study: HIV Services Available for Men who are Sexually Active with other Men in China (MSM)

HIV and AIDS pandemic has been a topic of concern globally. In 2011, China recorded new cases, about a third of 48 million were men sexually active with other men. The number of men who are HIV-infected increased with 2.5% in 2006 this has since recorded an increase with 2009 recording an increase of around 7.4%. The other alarming fact reported is that most of the people falling in this group are not aware of their status.

In China, the services provided by the local-based caregivers and in other professionals in the public sectors are not well synchronized. The community at large too has not been involved in eradication and control of HIV and AIDS thus there is a huge gap experienced.

In China, the local Non-profit organizations are actively involved in trying to gain full control and eradicate HIV spread among the men who are sexually active with other men. They have been doing this by engaging social, educational, environmental and the health sector actively.

Support and Preventive Services Involved

  • Pre and post counseling services
  • Follow-up
  • Guidance
  • Provision of any available relief services
  • Provision of Health and Nutrition check-ups
  • Information on sexual safety
  • Education on how HIV is spread
  • Education on various issues regarding HIV and Family

These support services should be aimed at, making easy accessibility of care and improving on the quality of the present services offered to people living with HIV and AIDS. This project saw some of the laid down interventions from public sector incorporate with the community based organization.

Hindrances Experienced when Offering Support

There are a few difficulties encountered while providing HIV related services to men who relate with each other sexually. These are:

  • Lack of full cooperation from all stakeholders involved
  • Lack of support from the main country’s community based and governmental organizations.
  • Lack of experts

To try and deal with these hindrances, a Chinese community-based organization in collaboration with Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention experts, came up with internet-based services for men having sex with men in Guangzhou. The internet services were intended to boost STD clinic services offering HIV testing and care.

The Study

A study to evaluate the internet-based services was carried out by Weibin Cheng et al and published by Bull World Health Organ 2016. The study reviewed the program’s online preventive tools developed to promote self assessment among individuals at HIV risk. This encourages individuals to become active in self management and understand HIV in details.

The online-offline tool was also reviewed. This tool was able to merge virtual interventions to actual HIV testing and care. This enabled the research to have conclusive feedback.

A service center was set up to provide services related to HIV and AIDS. This center was fully funded and functional with professionals available.

The Project Outcome

The study found that the number of people getting since the program started had steadily increased. The researchers found that between 2008 and 2013, 22 282 HIV tests were done by the program. During the same period, annual HIV test increased from 1064 in 2008 to 7754 in 2013.

In 2013, By 2013, 80% of total HIV tests conducted in Guangzhou had been done by the collaborative program. The program also saw 80% of new tests among MSM in Guangzhou. Today, about 25 people use the program to get tested daily.

The researchers feel that this program is quite effective in offering support in HIV prevention and care and they suggest that it is adapted to the rest of China and other low and middle income countries experiencing limited community engagement.

Our Take

In China there is a high need for community based organizations to team up with other bodies involved and working towards elimination of HIV. Forming a strong alliance will improve the services available, enhance innovation and lead to sustainable solutions.

Read the full study here: