The dramatic changes China has gone through politically, economically, and socially have changed the landscape of sexually transmitted infection transmission and created conditions that contributed to the outbreak and epidemic expansion of HIV. Increased mobility of large portions of the population, changing social norms, and the reemergence of the commercial sex industry and alternative lifestyle choices, sexual orientations, and sexual behaviors have changed the way in which disease spreads in China and has also necessitated a change in the way the Chinese government has had to respond. Previously, during the days of a centrally planned economy, the physical well-being of the people was one of the main metrics by which governance was evaluated. However, in shifting to the market economy of modern-day China, the government has had to accept some of the negative side effects. With the increased freedoms the Chinese people enjoy today, the spread of diseases, such as HIV, become more difficult to control. However, China’s new political, economic, and social norms also better facilitate some aspects of an effective HIV/AIDS response.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to Dr. Roger Detels, Jennifer M. McGoogan and Nicole Aston for their comments and editorial assistance.
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