One of China's Early AIDS Heroes Hounded into Hiding Identity

China's Sex Ed Falls Way Behind Sex Revolution

Sex education is still considered taboo in Chinese society. Parents are afraid the sex education will encourage young people to have sex before getting married. Until five years ago, Chinese police would use possession of condoms as evidence that suspects were involved in prostitution.

The stigma surrounding gay men in Chinese society make intervention efforts difficult. Homosexuality was not removed from the official list of mental disorders until 2001. Most gay men in China are married and under social pressure to hide their sexual orientation.

Zhao Zheng, works for Tianjin Dark Blue Working Group. It is a grass-roots organization committed to HIV prevention and care for HIV-positive people. "Sex education in China is very poor, especially for gay men," he said. One time Zhao was invited by a group of male students from a big university in northern China to give a speech about AIDS. The school administration told him that he could talk about AIDS, but would not allow mentioning condoms.

Professor Zhang Liqi, director of Tsinghua University's Institute of Human Virology and Integrated Research Center for AIDS, says the lack of sex ed in China poses a danger to the country.

"Sex education is far behind the pace. If the government doesn't take any measures, it is very dangerous for China. The Chinese dream will never come true," Zhang said.

Now Dawei has moved to another city, which he refuses to identify. He has changed his name and identity and is working as an on call foot masseusse. In his free time he is working on writing his movie scripts. On World AIDS Day in 2012, Dawei took the train and traveled to Beijing to attend a small fund raising event. Sitting in the corner of a small book store near the Drum Tower in Beijing, Dawei's pure white jacket highlighted his pale complexion. He looked very clean, and smiled to everyone at the event who was trying hard to give him extra hugs to make him feel more welcome. It has been eight years since he was affected with HIV. He says he still feels quite healthy and strong.

Dawei refused to take a picture. He said he has stopped showing his face in public. He is trying to live in a low key life style. The only thing he cares about right now is whether he can be treated and seen as a normal person and live a normal life. His dream of turning his personal story into a movie is still strong, but Dawei has not written the end of the movie as he doesn't know how his life will turn out.

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