China’s increase in AIDS and syphilis cases

According to this New York Times brief, China’s Health Ministry has recently reported a 45% increase in AIDS cases and a 24% increase in syphilis cases from the previous year. This is a HUGE increase. They apparently did not give numbers of actual cases (E.g., is that up from 1000 cases? A million cases? We don’t know). China, Russia, and India are all facing rapid increases in regard to the spread of sexually transmissible infections, including HIV (the virus that, over time, usually causes AIDS).

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at

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    I often wonder how many of these dramatic increases are caused by previous errors or omissions in reporting and documenting.
    I fail to see how a natural evolution of social and moral attitudes could change so dramatically. Surely there would need to be the equivalent of an invading army to create a rise like this?
    I very much doubt behavior has changed to cause this, it’s more likely the department or body that records such data has experienced an error either now or previously, or that they are actually being more honest.

    There could always be a more political motive. Perhaps they are simply trying to scare their population into following strict moral codes?