In a surprising move from a government notorious for blocking gay web sites and avoiding discussion of homosexuality, a disease control office in Beijing has opened the city’s first officially sanctioned gay chat room, according to an article in the Beijing Times.
Visitors to the Chaoyang District Disease Prevention and Control Center’s web site can find an open place to seek information and counseling about STDs and find other people with whom they can discuss STD and gay issues.
Unfortunately, it has yet to become a hotbed of positive information sharing. Web site manager Fu Qingyuan told the Beijing Times that most of the posts in the two months the forum have been open have come from site managers, not from gay men seeking help.
Still, any start is a good start, and China has a long way to go to even begin educating its gay citizens about the dangers of HIV and other STDs. In a Beijing survey, only 15 percent of 482 men who had sex with men understood that they were at risk of contracting HIV, according to a 2005 United Nations’ report on AIDS.