Just a few weeks before the World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, a university in Beijing has become a distribution site for free HIV test kits. The prevention campaign was jointly launched by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control of Beijing's Chaoyang district and the Communication University of China.
The university staff placed 200 HIV test kits in public toilets around the campus, offering an easy preliminary HIV screening. This initiative has helped students to determine their HIV status in a swift and confidential way.
"We have already distributed 25 test kits, which are quite popular among the students. We hope the kits remind them to seek treatment as soon as possible if they are infected," a university employee said.
Students were instructed to utilize the kits by sending their urine samples to an appointed hospital and check their test results online. Four samples had been sent back to the hospital as of Nov. 17, which all showed negative results.
"It's not new to see free condoms distributed at universities, but the distribution of HIV test kits is unprecedented. The kits can improve our understanding and awareness of the disease," said a junior student from the university.
Many experts commended the initiative, noting that it can curb the disease among students as well as raise young people's awareness of HIV/AIDS. However, doctors warned that despite having test kits, students still need to undergo a professional test for AIDS if they get a positive result.
There is an urgent need to not only raise awareness on prevention of HIV/AIDS among the younger generation, but also to inform them about what to do, how to get treatment, and where to receive counseling should they be infected.
According to China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 570,000 people living with HIV/AIDS as of Oct. 2015. Of that number, 9,152 are youths aged between 15 and 24.
Chinese authorities and non-government organizations have been working hard on HIV prevention among students and more projects are coming on the AIDS Awareness Month like a Red Ribbon Gala Dinner in Shanghai.