Chinese doctors say increased club drug use leading to rise in HIV

World Today

In China, synthetic drugs known as “club drugs” such as Ice, Ecstasy and Rush, have been increasingly appearing across the country, and they have had a damaging impact on the spread of HIV and AIDS, especially among young people. CCTV’s Han Bin reported this story from Tianjin, China.

Chinese doctors say increased club drug use leading to rise in HIV

Synthetic drugs known as "Club Drugs", like Ice, Ecstasy and Rush, usually result in excitement and delusion. In China, they've been increasingly appearing across the country. Yet, their damaging impact on the spread of HIV and AIDS, especially among young people, has not been fully recognized. CCTV’s Han Bin reported from Tianjin.

Xiao Dong tested positive for HIV last August. He said using Ice caused him to become reckless and have unprotected sex. He now has his blood testing every three months at the Shenlan Public Health Counseling Service Center, an NGO in Tianjin.

“When I first took Ice, I felt so stimulated and couldn’t control myself. My mind became empty except for delusions. It triggered a strong desire for sex,” Dong said.

HIV and AIDS are now mostly spread in China through sex and there is a rising number of transmissions due to club drug use. These drugs, which are different from traditional drugs like heroin, have now become the most widespread drugs of abuse in China.

“Club drugs are very well known among young people today. Even if they don’t use them, few have never heard of them. This is an alarming phenomenon. People know the danger of traditional drugs, but for these new types of drugs, they have completely wrong information. Some say they are the pills to make them happy and high. Such a concept has helped accelerate their popularity,” said Zhao Zheng, the deputy director of the Shenlan center.

The consequences of taking club drugs have drawn the attention of medical doctors and academic experts. They’ve noted a trend of HIV infections shifting from rural areas to urban and more developed areas.

“The biggest effect of taking club drugs is the extreme excitement and displacement of the central nervous system. People’s attitude towards sex will become much open. The sense of shame will disappear and self-control will be reduced, resulting in unprotected sex,” said Nankai University professor Zhang Minying.

Shenlan’s deputy chief Zhao Zheng said while NGOs play a key role in HIV/AIDS outreach and services, bus aid drug prevention and sexual health education should be further promoted by the government.

In addition to testing, Dong is also taking the drug prevention course.

“I regret it so much. I can’t help thinking all the time about why I had taken the drugs. I hope young people will stay away from drugs, and cherish our lives,” said Xiao Dong.