Govt to Open Gay Bar in China to Assist AIDS Outreach

A local government in China's Yunnan Province will open a gay bar tomorrow in the city of Dali to assist with HIV/AIDS prevention and outreach:

Dalichina The bar for gays will open tomorrow, World AIDS Day, financed by public funds to the tune of 120,000 yuan ($17, 576), the Beijing News said, offered by Dali Prefecture government, and is to be run by The Good Friend Center, a non-governmental organization for gay men.

Yunnan has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, official data indicates.

Zhang Jianbo, the bar's manager, told the Global Times that the bar will not be operated for merely commercial purposes but rather serve as a platform to raise awareness of its gay clients about safe sex practice among them.

"We might not even sell beverages in the bar. We will turn the bar into a tribune to offer lectures and training to gay people in order to reduce AIDS infections among them," he said.

Dali Health Minister Chen Zhu said days ago that homosexual sex among gay and bisexual men accounted for 32 percent of the total HIV/AIDS transmission in China, where sexual transmission was the main cause of the great majority of new HIV/AIDS cases last year.

Generally, lesbians are much more loyal to their partners, and their relationship is more stable than that of gay couples of the opposite sex, Zhang said.

"As long as the government succeeds in preventing gay men from becoming the source of HIV/AIDS transmission, we could effectively rein in the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS," Jiang Anmin, vice director of the Dali Health Bureau, said. Jiang put the number of gay men in Dali at between 1,500 and 2,000.

Jiang seemed to downplay the launch of the bar, saying the local government would rather remain low-key, and its interior decoration will be as the same as other bars. A group of gay volunteers will be employed by the bar to attract customers, Jiang said.

World AIDS Day is tomorrow, December 1.

Posted November 30, 2009 at 7:40am ETC by Andy Towle
in AIDS/HIV, China, gay bar, News