March 12, 2003

Hidden Epidemic of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in ChinaCrisis and Opportunity

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1303-1305. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1303

Recent findings from a range of studies13 suggest that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the behaviors that spread them are increasing in China. The period of strict social control and the virtual eradication of China's extensive commercial sex industry after the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 has been over since at least 1986—the start of China's "open door policy." Since the late 1980s, more than 100 million people, largely the rural poor, have migrated to China's eastern seaboard, which is the economic engine of the new China.3 Prostitution, in a wide array of forms, has reemerged.4

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