Yunnan Training Report, April 2010Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Yunnan province has been extremely hard hit by HIV, in comparison with other areas in China, accounting for over 25% of all reported cases of HIV in China. In 2007 the JAIDS reports that there were 57,325 cases of HIV in Yunnan province; injecting drug use (IDU) and unsafe sexual behaviour were listed as the 2 major causes of transmission. Risky behaviours are continuing and while there is a decrease in cases of HIV amongst injecting drug users (from 100% in ’89 to 42.5% in 2007), there is still a significant increase in sexually transmitted HIV, up to 47.4% in 2007.
Ethnic minority groups in China have, in the past, been the most affected by HIV, largely due to their lack of public health awareness and access to social services. In fact, they account for nearly half of all reported cases of HIV in Yunnan province. In addition, numbers have drastically increased amongst the Han majority population, which now accounts for over 60% of reported cases in Yunnan. “It (HIV) has begun to move from farmer minority groups in rural areas to worker Han majority urban settings. The high percentage are now due to sexual contact.” (GoKunming. M.)
Keeping this shift in mind, the Yunnan training group decided to focus on Han villages for our HIV prevention education workshops within our target area in Dehong, Yunnan. Our April 2010 training was in a Han village — the first time one of our trainings was given in an entirely Han ethnicity village.
Location: Bien Wa village (about 16 KM east of MangShi city)
Population: 78 households (363 persons)
Gender ratio: approximately 40% female, 60% male
Children under age 7: 36
Main Income: Working as labourers in MangShi city
Ethnic group: Han Chinese
Preparation for the workshop began with the regular routine of buying presents (such as towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, mosquito coils, etc.) in MangShi city. Then we drove to the village of Bien Wa with the CDC workers and had dinner at the house of the village chief. While waiting for our dinner, we took the time to distribute mouse traps for the households, as we had heard complaints that the village had been infested with rodents. After dinner, we prepared our sessions while waiting for the villagers to return from their work in the fields.
The session began at about 9.00 p.m.. We separated the villagers into 3 groups: young males, young females, and a senior group of older males and females (over 50 years of age). Information on HIV and AIDS were presented (including modes of transmission and stigma reduction), and we asked the villagers questions to find out what level their current knowledge of HIV was. We discovered a fairly high level of awareness overall in the village, though there were a few villagers who were somewhat unaware and misinformed. The villagers were really enthusiastic, and they actively participated during and after the information session. Condoms, reading materials, and other literature including posters and calendars complete with health and HIV information were also distributed to the villagers during the session.
The session ended at about 10.00 p.m. Some of the previous trainings have carried through until 11:30 pm; we found the Han villagers were quite disciplined and well organized. At the end, presents were distributed to each household to thank them for their participation, and they all seemed very happy about having us there. We also conducted a survey (before and after the session), in order for us to find out if there was any difference in level of awareness, and to get some feedback on our presentations themselves. The survey showed that before the session, 83.75% said they knew about HIV prevention, compared to after the session, when 96.25% indicated they knew more about HIV prevention.
* This year we have had a personnel shift. Ben, our longstanding associate who lives in Dehong, yunnan has agreed to take the position as in-country project manager. We are very excited about this change. Ben is extremely capable as a manager and social networker for the project, and Ben lives in Ruili, Dehong. His proximity to the project target area and his longstanding presence as a contributing member of the business community will both save the project money in travel expenses (that were previously incurred), and provide new avenues for including and encouraging local business support of our project.