Thursday, October 15, 2009

"HIV/AIDS continues steep increase in Japan"

Story from Japan Today, 10/15/09:

Many foreigners who live in Japan are surprised to know that HIV and AIDS is increasing rapidly in Japan. While HIV/AIDS infections in North America, Western Europe and Australia peaked in the late 1980s, Japan’s HIV infections have continued to increase. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Annual Report on HIV/AIDS Surveillance in Japan reports that in 2008 there were 1,126 HIV and 431 AIDS reports, the largest number of yearly reports to date.

Despite much media attention to the point of what is now known as the “AIDS panic” when the first AIDS patients were diagnosed in 1992, in recent years there has been a lack of media attention given to HIV/AIDS. The lack of English information, in particular, might lead foreigners in Japan to assume that they do not need to think about HIV when having sex in Japan.

“The majority of HIV and AIDS reports in Japan are among gay and bisexual men, who have little targeted HIV information and support, and there is a particular lack of resources in English. In recent years, the data indicates a slight increase in HIV reports among foreign gay and bisexual men, so we decided there was a need to investigate the health and information needs of foreigners in Japan,” said Prof Seiichi Ichikawa who is head of the Study Group on the Development and Evaluation of Community-based HIV Prevention Interventions for Men who have sex with Men at Nagoya City University.

The study group is looking for gays, lesbians and bisexuals living in Japan who are interested in doing the English language Internet survey which is being conducted until Jan 31 2010. The survey is anonymous and confidential. The Gay Travel Internet Survey can be found on a secure SSL site at

An important reminder of the HIV/AIDS situation in Japan as it's been a while since VAOJ has posted on the subject. Click here for previous posts. While it is good to see these kinds of stories in the media in Japan, it is unfortunate how much attention is paid to foreigners and gay men as the usual scapegoats, rather than looking at the more important reasons for the increases in HIV/AIDS. "The lack of English information, in particular, might lead foreigners in Japan to assume that they do not need to think about HIV when having sex in Japan." How about the lack of information or dialogue among Japanese people leading to assumptions that they don't need to worry about safe sex?

1 comment:

Sharon said...


1 in 4 sexually active teenagers become infected with an STD every year, in the United States alone. Now, more than ever, we need to join together to fight this growing issue. As I read through your website, it is clear that you share the same passion for STD/STI awareness. We here, at, understand the importance of STD/STI prevention and treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We can not reach every teenager, but together we can try.
If you need more information please mail me with the subject line as your URL.

Thnak You,
Sharon Vegoe