Students at a Chinese university now have the option to test themselves for HIV at their convenience, as they can now purchase affordable testing kits in vending machines.
The urine test kits cost approximately $4.40 and are sold next to instant noodles and other snacks at Southwest Petroleum University in Nanchong City in southwestern China. According to AsiaWire, this move signifies the Chinese government’s newfound urgency in battling HIV, which is on rapid rise among the country’s youth. There are over a half a million people living with the disease in China, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
There was a 43 percent year-over-year increase in infection rates among young students and 80 percent of those occurred from same-sex encounters, according to reports citing research from universities in Nanching City, AsiaWire reported.
The increase of HIV is particularly noticeable amongst young men who engage in sex with other men, AsiaWire reported. The Chinese curriculum does not adequately teach HIV and AIDS awareness and HIV-positive patients tend to be shunned by their acquaintances and their families. Patients are even less likely to speak up or seek professional help due to the diseases’ link to homosexuality.