Eighty per cent of the middle schools in Beijing were offering
HIV-prevention courses by the end of last month, up from none early
last year, sources at the Beijing Municipal Education Committee
To assist in the teaching of these courses, the committee
earlier drafted the country's first textbook aimed at preventing
HIV, the AIDS Prevention Textbook for Middle and Elementary School
Students. Teachers have been using the book since the start of the
autumn semester. Six class hours on the subject are required every
semester in junior high school, and four hours in senior high
The Ministry of Education made the classes mandatory in
February. The textbook covers such issues as abstinence, condom-use
and how to deal with relationships over the Internet. The textbook
provides detailed information about HIV/AIDS, such as how to avoid
contracting HIV, and encourages students not to be prejudiced
against people who have been infected by the disease. It also
offers advice on how to lead a healthy sex life.
The topic of sex is often too embarrassing for Chinese students
to bring up with teachers because it is taboo in traditional
Chinese culture. Teachers often skip the few chapters dealing with
sex in their health textbooks or tell students to study by
School representatives contacted by China Daily said they were
using the books.
"We have purchased textbooks for the students and designated
teachers to lecture both junior and senior students to meet the
committee's requirements," said a female teacher surnamed Hu who
works for the teaching affairs department of Beijing Yuying Middle
School, adding that she did not know how the classes were going or
whether any teachers had attempted to avoid the subject.
At the high school affiliated to Beijing Normal University, only
some school officials were given the new textbooks.
"To reduce students' tuition burden, we purchased only a few
books for our principal and the appointed teachers, but not the
students," Zhang Li, a teacher at the teaching affairs department,
said. "But the classes have started as per the authorities'
Li Bian, deputy director of the AIDS-Prevention Education
Project for Chinese Youths, an organization co-sponsored by the
China Charity Federation and the Chinese Society of Education,
highlighted the importance of offering HIV/AIDS education to both
middle and elementary school students.
"The country has waited for so long," Li told China Daily.
"AIDS-prevention education is so urgent in this country, since
young people's knowledge of sex lags behind their physical
"But the effort is still not making much progress, even though
China has stressed developing a high-quality educational system for
years," Li said. "It is all because the current education and
testing systems don't include this course in any appraisals."
(China Daily December 20, 2006)