AIDS prevention: the role of NGOs

Looking back at 2022, the Xi’an branch of Marie Stopes International China (MSIC), an INGO dedicated to promoting sexual and reproductive health and education in women and girls, has conducted regular HIV counselling and screening for high-risk groups, amidst the uncertainties of domestic Covid-19 management policies.


MSIC Xi’an made sure that people in need could have access to daily on-site testing and counselling by their staff and implemented their World AIDS Day activities as planned.


Training for undergraduates


Starting in late October, MSIC Xi’an organized a one-month training course for university students. With this year’s training conducted online, more students attended and the number of participating universities increased from 11 to 16.


In order to encourage students to do well in the training, the organizations set up awards and gave out certificates to outstanding trainees and teams. After the training, the students soon launched peer education activities at their schools, doing pro-bono work to encourage their peers to promote scientific understanding of HIV/AIDS.


World AIDS Day questionnaire 


Once the peer education training was over, MSIC Xi’an started planning for its World AIDS Day awareness campaign. Since offline activities were not practical, they decided to use online questionnaires, offering respondents the chance to win boxes of condoms.


In the end, they collected 2,136 questionnaires nationwide, with results revealing major blind spots in the attitudes of the general public towards HIV.


The data collected suggested that most people still lack knowledge about the transmission window period, the role of daily contact and mosquito bites in HIV transmission, and the development of AIDS treatment. The fear of HIV also often results in harsh requirements for infected people.


Regular education campaigns


During the past 12 months, MSIC Xi’an has hosted 25 live-streaming lessons on AIDS prevention and published 14 articles, reaching over 40,000 people.


There has been a steady decline in the number of HIV infections detected and a decrease in the number of new positive cases nationwide in the past three years. This improvement is a testament to China’s successful management of HIV infections and to the organizations that are doing their best to solve issues related to AIDS. Fifteen years on, MSIC Xi’an will continue its march towards zero AIDS.