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Public Messages to Promote Safe Sex

The country has launched its first round of public service announcements to promote the use of condoms and safe sex to fight HIV/AIDS.

Starting this month, the three video clips will hit screens in airports, buses and trains, and even appear on the Internet.

Well-known mainland actor Pu Cunxin, who appears in one of the clips, said at a launch ceremony yesterday that the move marked a breakthrough given the fact that condom advertisements are still unable to be broadcast.

"It's a big step forward, that we can discuss sex and condom use in public. Protected and safe sex is not bad thing at all and should be talked about," Pu said, adding that condoms were an effective way to lower the risk of contracting the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

Hong Kong-based movie star Jackie Chan and Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan are in the two other public message clips that will run through next year.

The announcements come after latest figures from the Health Ministry showed that unsafe sex was becoming the main mode of transmission for HIV.

The Ministry of Public Security also recently published a notice saying that carrying condoms by those working in entertainment venues will not be used as evidence of their sex services - previously, carrying condoms was considered evidence that the venues were engaged in prostitution.

The country now has 700,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, up from about 650,000 in 2005, based on official figures.

More than half of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections this year were reportedly infected through unsafe sex. A majority of the cases involved those aged 20 to 39 years old.

(China Daily December 7, 2007)

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