The Chinese Ministry of Commerce is moving to ban HIV/AIDS afflicted individuals from public bathhouses. The agency also wants to ban people with other sexually transmitted diseases and infectious skin conditions. The uninformed movement has sparked criticism from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS which says that individuals who test positive for the virus should not be discriminated against.
The move to ban HIV-positive individuals is misguided and discriminatory. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS are only transmitted through sexual contact, blood borne transmissions and mother-to-child transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People sharing casual contact at bathhouses do not pose a threat of transmission.
A better educational program needs to be put into place to better inform people of the realities of STDs. Misconceptions only perpetuate stigmas, making life unnecessarily difficult for those affected by the virus. It is important for people to know their status and to own it. Receiving regular STD testing is a part of a comprehensive sexual health plan. Knowing one’s status will allow individuals to take charge of their sexual health and learn more about how they can move forward with their disease.