A comparative study of how to avoid stigma in uncompetitive political systems: HIVself-testing in China and South Africa
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HIV/AIDS has been the subject of much debate since the1980s in the fields of medicine, public health and sociology. These discussions have involved medical practitioners, social campaigns, and NGOs in the U.S and European countries. However, in China and South Africa, because of their political systems, religion, gender, and traditional cultures, HIV/AIDS policy was established by uncompetitive governmental policies, indigenous culture, and social structure that led to outbreaks of the disease and consequent public crises. As a contagious, global disease without a cure, HIV/AIDS is often related to marginal groups, which are easily stigmatized by mainstream society. In China, men who have sex with men (MSM) is a high HIV/AIDS-infected group, which is often excluded by mainstream society because homosexual marriage is illegal. To weaken stigmatization of HIV/AIDS and people living with it and decrease the rate of infection, the Chinese government has been working with community-based organizations (CBOs) to promote HIV self-testing among MSMs to encourage them to take HIV/AIDS tests at home in a private and more comfortable setting than facility-based testing places. The process of self-testing allows people to control the time and place to take the test by themselves, meanwhile de-medicalizing the HIV/AIDS testing and empowering MSMs.