Travel ban over STDs 'ineffective'

10:14, May 05, 2010      

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Banning foreigners with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from crossing borders has almost no impact on efforts to halt the spread of infection, say experts.

China lifted its two-decade entry ban for sufferers of STDs, including HIV and AIDS, as well as leprosy, on April 27.

Yet despite a poll by China Daily and finding that 84 percent of almost 4,200 respondents are against the move, analysts say the law had little effect on the fight against disease.

"Over the last 25 years of implementing the entry ban, only 4,800 HIV and AIDS cases were imported from abroad, whereas cases of domestic infection were as many as 230,000," said Lu Fan, a researcher of the National Center for AIDS and STD Control and Prevention (NCAIDS) told People's Daily.

In the early stages of the global spread of HIV and AIDS, the major threat was from abroad, prompting many countries to enforce entry restrictions. Today, the domestic threat is far greater, making entry bans redundant, explained Wu Zunyou, director of NCAIDS.

"After the entry ban is lifted, there is no need to worry too much about daily contact with foreigners," said Wu, who stressed that the HIV virus can only be transmitted through blood, sexual intercourse, and from mother to child.

Lifting the AIDS travel ban is an important part of adjusting prevention and control strategy, he said. The decision is scientific, consistent with the international community's understanding of HIV and AIDS, meets the needs of China's economic and political development, and is also a critical act of eliminating discrimination.

Most Chinese citizens still greatly misunderstand the virus due to insufficient awareness on the subject, and more community efforts on health education need to be done, he added.

Source:China Daily


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