China is Fighting AIDS With Cheap Hotels — And It's Working

ByTrevor Ward

Low budget hotels in China are becoming more popular as a result of the growing Chinese sexual revolution, according to a story by Radio Netherlands. With progressive changes in the Chinese culture, norms pertaining to unmarried couples are changing rapidly, especially within the hospitality industry. The Economist noted, As in many western countries, it was once hard for unmarried couples to book a hotel room in China. That no longer seems to be the case.”

In China, low budget hotels have historically housed traveling business people and tourists. However, with young unmarried couples typically unable to afford housing, coupled with increased sexual progressivism, the low budget hotel market has recently begun to serve as an extremely popular escape. Likewise, low budget hotels are typically anonymous and private — a major incentive attracting those couples seeking a night only they will remember.

Furthermore, these changes have increased the safety of dating. Sexologist Xiaoliang Zeng says that with fears of online date scamming, low budget hotels serve as a safe location for unknown partners to consummate their love.

This being taken into account, low budget hotels have done more than just protect people from online dating scams and their parent’s discerning opinions — they have spawned a public health policy protecting a nation of over one billion people.

With this being said, the growing sexual revolution has also increased the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic within China. The HIV/AIDS virus is a disease of the immune system that is primarily spread in China through drug use and sexual intercourse. In 2011, the United Nations UNAIDS mission estimated that there were around 34 million people around the world infected with HIV/AIDS, an increase of nearly 5 million cases since 2009 — with 840,000 of these carriers being Chinese. Due to this growing dilemma, China took action., a U.K.-based HIV/AIDS charity, explains that in recent years China has taken many effective steps to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, through measures such as needle exchanges and sexual education.

In light of both of these issues, a surprisingly simple, yet innovative public health policy has been issued within China — mandatory condoms in hotel rooms. This policy was initially implemented in Beijing, 2007, when city officials mandated that all hotels must supply each room with a set of condoms in response to learning that heterosexual intercourse became the primary mode of HIV/AIDS transmission. Moreover, Reuter’s reports, that by 2015 this policy will be implemented nation-wide, with an estimated 95% of all hotels supplying condoms to their patrons.

While a cure to HIV/AIDS has yetto be found, this sexual movement has spawned a remarkably simple, yet effective policy to combat HIV/AIDS. Mandating condoms in hotels may not be an effective way to combat HIV/AIDS in every country, but China’s policy sheds light on new perspectives by which HIV/AIDS can be combated.