COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
national

HIV/AIDS continues steep increase in Japan

67 Comments

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 https://www.gaytravel.jp.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

67 Comments
Login to comment

The study group is looking for gays, lesbians and bisexuals living in Japan

Why do they want to talk to lesbians? Their demographic has the lowest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Perhaps they don't want them to feel left out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, I don't even look at J-girl for longer than 10 seconds unless I'm strapped. A lot times the girls themselves don't even realize they have a disease.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Study Group on the Development and Evaluation of Community-based HIV Prevention Interventions for Men who have sex with Men at Nagoya City University

Nagoya City University sounds like a hotbed of debauchery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

1,126 HIV and 431 AIDS reports, the largest number of yearly reports to date.

This may be the highest, but it still seems low. How many cases go unreported?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This may be the highest, but it still seems low. How many cases go unreported?

Multiply by at least 10, I'd say. Sexual health awareness here is shocking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the Study Group on the Development and Evaluation of Community-based HIV Prevention Interventions for Men who have sex with Men

Not gay, just having sex with men

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The study group is looking for gays, lesbians and bisexuals living in Japan

You might want to try adult friend finder rather than JT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, can't have an article about HIV without mentioning foreigners...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's nice of these folks to be so thoughtful - thinking of foreign gay males' well-being.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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.

Yes, maybe if all foreigners are borderline retarded. I havent seen any English language information about not stabbing myself in the face with a spoon, but that doesnt mean Im gonna go and do it. I know it will hurt, same as everyone knows there is a risk with unprotected sex. I think the lack of japanese language education on the subject is probably the problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Adding... many Japanese I know go to Thailand for business and plant/factory visits....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://www.japanetwork.org/aidsnews/stats/06jul-sep.html

Look at the bottom stat.. 1420 people caught AIDS from blood transfusions in 2006 in Japan, second highest source stat.. Would love to know if they have improved this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These figures are totally unreliable. Having spoken to medical professionals in the past about such issues, a conservative estimate would be 10 times this. You also have to factor in the people (mostly men) who play away from home in such exotic climes as Bangkok and Bali.

At the same time, however, at least Japan now appears to be admitting that homosexuality does exist on these shores. In times gone past, I think the reporting standards were those people infected by blood transfusions (involving the Green Cross Disaster, etc.) and others.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice site gogogo but is said 1420 men got AIDS from unheated blood products and 18 women? Seems a bit unbalanced but maybe there are circumstances we don't know.

dbung10 - nicely said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This article states that 'the majority of HIV and AIDS reports in Japan are among gay and bisexual men' but I think they are twisting the real meaning. I read other stats that said 'just over half of HIV/AIDS cases are among homosexual men'. (the remainder being transmitted through heterosexual sex, drug abuse or in the womb) In other words, gay men are more likely to report HIV. Gay and bisexual men may be at higher risk but in my opinion, they are also much more careful and aware of sexual health issues.

It also says that 'the data indicates a slight increase in HIV reports among foreign gay and bisexual men'. Again, this could simply be due to regular testing by gay and bisexual men. Or it could be because the total number of gay and bisexual men in Japan has increased in recent years.

If you ask me, there is a lot more awareness and education about HIV/AIDS in other countries than there is in Japan. This article seems to imply that foreigners, especially gay men, are ignorant or careless and I don't think that is the case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You only have to look at the booming sex industry here to see why HIV continues to increase. Combined with the woeful lack of knowledge about STDs in general, it's a disaster in the making. Most of my male Japanese friends are always bragging about how they never use condoms, even when visiting brothels. And I can count on one hand the number of Japanese girls who have brought up the issue of protected sex BEFORE I raised it.... I dread to think what will happen come the year 2030 or so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yep nikoniko78, its amazing that in japan its always been me that brings up the issue before the girl, Ive spoken to a lot of women that have said they just do what the BF wants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No sex ever, no worry about HIV and AIDS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nice post dbung10... it is certainly not an english language problem. I would say the issue may be summed up with the fact that the majority of girls that dated here in japan requested that I did not use a condom. none of which became my girlfriend for the obvious reason...

buckle up before you drive, cover up before you saddle up... thank god its ok to screw drunk ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

oh and the other one that I have heard way too many times is...

you cant get an std from oral sex...

there needs to be some education going on here....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Qwote Kwatt: "No sex ever, no worry about HIV and AIDS."

Qwestion. Is that a personal statement, a suggestion, an order, or what? Is it realistic, do you think, or are you joking?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As my Great Grand daddy said. Porn material pretty much sums up a cultures desires at least for the majority of men. This is a pretty horny culture in genaral like mine, USA... Thanks to the Internet it will only increase. Jimmyhat Times forever.... Before I took off for Uni my doc winked at me and said "wrap before you dip the stick son", literally 16 years ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hakujinsensei, it's best that women don't find out that you can get an STD from oral sex. Keep that one under wraps, mate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As timorborder has stated the number of men in that report were haemophiliacs that got AIDS and Hep C from tainted blood that was BOUGHT in Haiti(?) and wasn't screened because of the costs.This led to a big trial in which ex-731 villian Abe Takashi and other leaders got away pretty much scot-free.You can look up midori-juuji or Japan Green cross for more accurate info on that vile piece of Japanese history.The Japanese do no screen bloood stringently,but anywhere in the world a transfusion carries the risk of Hep viruses,HIV and T-Cell Leaukaemia viruses...my wife will have a C-section next week and the waiver was pretty scary for us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What about a poll of non gay or bi guys and gals that have gotten aids or do not use protection. At least most love hotels provide you with two free condoms...but it should be at least four if you get service time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the japan numbers have been wildly under-reported for years...everyone in the world knows this, yet the japanese think, somehow, that they're fooling everyone

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, can't have an article about HIV without mentioning foreigners...

I'd recommend actually reading the article before saying stupid things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Would love to know if they have improved this.

with the japanese medical system, always assume 'no'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

1500 cases isn't exactly an epidemic, considering how many people don't use condoms here.

I don't get that part at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many foreigners who live in Japan are surprised to know that HIV and AIDS is increasing rapidly in Japan. Why? Only gaijins have HIV/AIDS? Or are Nihonjins immune?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many foreigners who live in Japan are surprised to know that HIV and AIDS is increasing rapidly in Japan. Why? Only gaijins have HIV/AIDS? Or are Nihonjins immune?

No, because they would expect it to have already peaked (like it has in Western Europe, America, and Australia). Assuming Japan is the same as the rest of the developed world is always a mistake of course.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As timorborder has stated the number of men in that report were hemophiliacs that got AIDS and Hep C from tainted blood that was BOUGHT in Haiti(?) and wasn't screened because of the costs.

This isn't exactly right. The blood in question was bought in the United States. The issue, however, was that Japan (Green Cross) at the time only had the technology to make non-heat treated blood coagulant products. This meant that the combination of tainted blood and non-heat treatment raised the risk of HIV infection. Professor Abe, in his role as a government adviser (being a specialist on hemophilia) apparently helped to delay imports of superior foreign products (heat treated products) at the behest of Green Cross.

The net result of this conduct was that a lot of hemophiliacs here in Japan were needlessly infected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HIV/AIDS a problem in Japan? What tomfoolery is this?

We all know that the uniqueness of the Japanese race is impervious to such a foreign scourge.

To quote my Japanese chums from uni days: "There is no AIDS in Japan."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those figures are way under reported. My friend is a Japanese virologist and told me that the figure of real cases in Japan should be closer to ten times the reported number. Patients fear ostracism and so they request the data is kept private.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese medical system is cutting edge. This will subside with time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Protect yourselves ladies and gentlemen

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is no surprise. Before I moved here a year ago, a lot of my friends warned me about AIDS and STDs in Japan. Sex education here is deplorable and despite what the article says, it's not just the homosexual community that you have to worry about. My advice? If you're having sex with anybody, use a condom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When you go from zero to one that is an increase of 100%. The key to understanding this article is in this statement. "2008 there were 1,126 HIV and 431 AIDS reports, the largest number of yearly reports to date." This is nationwide! In my hometown in the USA, there is at least that many in the county. I am not downplaying even one case and for those infected numbers mean nothing. However, I would not say that Japan has an AIDS problem.

Also, humans are sexual beings and all those that seem to attribute AIDS and HIV to porn or easy sex are just wrong. Humans have and will always seek to have sex. Japanese fathers just need to start telling their sons to wrap it before you tap it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As timorborder has stated the number of men in that report were hemophiliacs that got AIDS and Hep C from tainted blood that was BOUGHT in Haiti(?) and wasn't screened because of the costs.

This isn't exactly right. The blood in question was bought in the United States. The issue, however, was that Japan (Green Cross) at the time only had the technology to make non-heat treated blood coagulant products. This meant that the combination of tainted blood and non-heat treatment raised the risk of HIV infection. Professor Abe, in his role as a government adviser (being a specialist on hemophilia) apparently helped to delay imports of superior foreign products (heat treated products) at the behest of Green Cross.

The net result of this conduct was that a lot of hemophiliacs here in Japan were needlessly infected.

That is interesting. I spoke to Red Cross woman about 6 months ago when giving blood and she told me that the Red Cross and all such organizations in the US screen for HIV by doing double blind samples. They also do not mix blood or parts of blood anymore. I believe it was in the early 1990s or 1980s in the US when they realized that infections were occurring due to bad blood being used. I believe there was a young boy Ryan ....something...who was the poster child for this issue. I may be wrong on this so someone check.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

pawatan,

The difference of a "good" virus and a "bad" virus is how it manages to spread. Ebola is a "bad" virus, as the symptoms are spectacular and quick. AIDS is a "good" virus, as someone can live with it for years, looking healthy, and spread it around. Basically it will never stop as long as we have to deal with this kind of initiative and article. AIDS is officially spreading among gays and foreigners; but they are usually more aware of AIDS and are usually not that shy getting tested , more than the filthy salaryman who pays for sex once or twice a week, and knowing for sure that unprotected casual sex is quite common among youth, I am sure that AIDS will suddenly be a bomb very soon in this country, unfortunately.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A young oriental J-man can have all the facial similarities of a female with make-up and all. So watch out dudes, don't be fooled, take precautions before kissing 'em.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Link to info about contaminated haemophilia blood products world-wide:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contaminated_haemophilia_blood_products

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are the number of AIDs cases going up, or just more being reported more?

The World Health Organization reports the number of HIV cases in Japan to be at least 17,000.[3] This equates to roughly 0.01% of the population of Japan, one of the lowest ratios of HIV in the world.

With the lowest ratio in the world, is it a big surpise that more reporting is finally going on, or that cases may actually be still increasing? They got no where to go but up! This article is a great piece of non-news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the numbers reported are about twice the actual number! In Japan, they count anonymous HIV screening results as well as the non-anonymous results taken next and add them up! They do this knowing the flaw of the system but they dont care as long as they exaggerate the numbers and take a large budget to finance their researchish-empire....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The hospital in my home country where my mum underwent a surgery requested a family member to donate blood for the bloodbank for soldiers. I offered to donate; when I mentioned that I reside in Japan, the officer did not accept my application. Could this have been the reason?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remembered discussing this issue with some of my western friends. I was very surprised when they all but totally dismissed the possibility that AIDS was a problem here and possibly a growing one, I was taken aback, couldn't believe it. There is the perception by many of us that Japan is super safe in all aspects of life. We, should all be careful, wherever we are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The hospital in my home country where my mum underwent a surgery requested a family member to donate blood for the bloodbank for soldiers. I offered to donate; when I mentioned that I reside in Japan, the officer did not accept my application. Could this have been the reason?

Yes, and the reverse is true as well, try giving blood in Japan as a non-Japanese and watch the 'thanks but no thanks' and the yes that means no' start to spew forth from aplogetic nurses..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

try giving blood in Japan as a non-Japanese and watch the 'thanks but no thanks' and the yes that means no' start to spew forth from aplogetic nurses

I used to give blood regularly up until about 20 years ago, never had anything but thanks. I was even asked to appear on local TV urging other folk to donate, and have a little badge showing that I filled at least one donor card. It's only since the outbreak of the mad cow debacle, when anyone who has spent as little as a day in the UK since 1980-whenever became ineligible to give blood. That's everyone, including Japanese family and relatives I took on a trip to London, and vegetarians with nary a chance of carrying the BSE lurgies.

Let's just stop all this 'we-non-Japanese-are-victims' rubbish.

Moderator: All readers back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When my British friend came to Japan we went out in Roppongi. He was suprised to see the African guys working the streets there. He then turned to me and said "that's where your HIV problem will come from"! It sounded outrageous but with infection rates of over 20% in several African countries, it was a scary thought....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how many people die in Japan, say in their mid-40s and 50s, without the doctors even recognizing the fact that they had AIDS? Instead, putting their death down to a secondary cancer, for example, (advanced AIDS allows cancers to develop much more easily). Given the woeful, indeed dangerous, lack of medical knowledge amongst doctors here, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the figure was actually quite high.....plus, I am sure there is a lot of pressure not to sign-off a death certificate with HIV/AIDS as the cause of death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Jizzeez

He then turned to me and said "that's where your HIV problem will come from"! It sounded outrageous but with infection rates of over 20% in several African countries, it was a scary thought....

Your friend is a ignorant as those who believe only homosexuals and gays have it. Most of the people who have HIV in Africa come from some of the most impoverished countries. They wouldn't be able to afford to live decent lives at home let alone leave their countries. Diseases like AIDS have been passed on mostly by those with means to travel a lot. Like Japanese business men or western business men, actually more diseases have been spread by Europeans than any other group in the past 600 years. It just simply spreads faster in the poorer groups because of lack of medical care. The carriers are usually the more well to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Contradiction at work, biglittleman? "Most of the people who have HIV in Africa come from some of the most impoverished countries. They wouldn't be able to afford to live decent lives at home let alone leave their countries."

and at the end, "The carriers are usually the more well to do."

Well, maybe it's the more well-to-do Africans who have disovered how to make money in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@nandakandamanda,

Well, maybe it's the more well-to-do Africans who have disovered how to make money in Tokyo.

Not a contradiction at all. We can both agree that a lot of the well-to-do and business types as well as the middle income in Japan go to places like Thailand, Philipines and Bali often, Yes? They also have high HIV/Aids rates,Yes? It usually spreads faster among the poor, yes? We can also agree these are known sex vacation destinations, yes? We can also agree that most poor peoples are not able to flee their situation of poverty by traveling to another country, yes? Especially an expensive place like the UK or Japan. We can also agree using condoms is not popular among the Japanese, yes? Then it is easier to conclude the majority of the carriers of HIV/AIDS to Japan are the Japanese themselves. Just like in the US and UK. What I also said about Europeans spreading more disease than any other group in past 600 years is also true. Entire civilizations have been almost completely wiped out.

If they were all well-to-do Africans then they wouldn't be working as touts on the streets of Roppongi. You just contradicted your argument with an illogical premise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@nandakandamanda,

That just explains Japan's situation. If you want to talk about the UK then you should watch the documentary "My boyfriend is a sex-tourist".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@biglittleman - correct. I have not heard such ridiculous views as those expressed by Jizzezz's British friend's for quite a number of years. Who is to say that the African touts are infected? Or that they are having less than monogomous sexual relations with Japanese citizens, or that they are having unprotected sex?

Conversley, Japan has a very large sex industry which does not stipulate the use of condoms (of which Foreign clientel are not served), as well as a historically high-participation in sex tourism to Asian desitnations. The incidence of serial adultary is extremely high, with many men having multiple sexual partners well into their retirement. Many middle-school and high-school girls utilize prostitution to supplement their pocket money via mobile dating sites, and are not strong enough to insist that their (middle-aged and married) clients use protection.

Very many Japanese only become alerted to the fact that they are HIV positve when they attempt to give blood, and are subsequently advised to visit their physician without delay. The Japanese are not a nation renowed for their participation in charities, and the incidence of blood donation cannot be described as high. One can only imagine that the percentage of actual cases versus reported must be rather low. Always use protection...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blaming Africans for HIV infection makes sense except that they don't come from Sub-Saharan Africa-they usually comes from West Africa where the rates are nowhere near as high.

It is got more to do with local sexual habits then anything else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AIDS, while deadly, is not that easy to get, or to spread. The AIDS stats in Japan pale in comparison to Hep C and treatment-resistant TB, both of which of course can also be spread through sexual or non-sexual contact. Chlamydia is reported to be rampant among teens and while not fatal is asymptomatic and if untreated can render one sterile. In addition to the hazards at soaplands, there are also growing reports that a variety of nasty cooties can be picked up by bathing in a public bath or -- gasp -- an onsen. Sort of takes the fun out of mixed bathing...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Delarapier

Blaming Africans for HIV infection makes sense except that they don't come from Sub-Saharan Africa-they usually comes from West Africa where the rates are nowhere near as high.

So what you are really saying is "it doesn't make sense to blame Africans"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sort of takes the fun out of mixed bathing...

From your description it isn't just the mixed baths we have to worry about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Beelzebub - quite right. and with all the constant talk about aids in africa leads us to ignore the fact that africa is in fact dying of treatable diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, etc. but AIDs is a headline grabber because it plays to that age old notion that sex = death

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem is a total lack of awareness here, and a lack of education on the subject. Broaching the subject of sex in school (ie. sex ed.) is still pretty touchy, and forget about kids having access to condoms. In the field of pornography here most still do not use condoms (ahem... so I'm told), and I doubt they use them at the soaplands and healt salons. There are, I've found out when talking to people, a number of anonymous clinics that you can be tested at, but do Japanese know about them? I know that they are not at all encouraged to get tested simply to be responsible if they've engaged in unprotected sex in the past.

I was JUST having this talk with a few people yesterday about current issues and someone mentioned how AIDS/HIV aren't a problem in Japan. I said it's the only G8 nation with a rapidly increasing rate, and the other were shocked (and don't believe me, I think).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is also a popular belief in Japan that if you use a condom then it means you don`t love me. At least that is what some of the guys/girls say to each other to raw dawg it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When you donate blood in japan, they check your blood and give you the test results but they don't tell you when you have HIV positive.. I wonder why. They say you should not donate blood to test and see if you are HIV positive, but I think it is actually good if more people donated blood and in return they get the test results. The hospital simply have to let the people know the results and not use the blood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is there any data that said that HIV in Japan came from Africa? As far as I know, the HIV-1 subtype spreading in Japan is different than those that are spreading in Africa. Blaming Africans for HIV infection rate in Japan does not make sense. Period. I agree with smithinjapan. Focus on awareness and education on the subject, and stop denying that it is not a problem. Because it IS a problem.

Fishy, what do you mean 'they don't tell you when you have HIV positive?' If you meant the onset of the disease, there's no way they know when the onset might occur. The HIV window period can last from 2 weeks to 15 years. And it will be difficult for anyone to determine when an HIV-sero-positive had sero-onversion. The best guest can be made by the patient though, based on when he/she started/had the risky behavior for HIV infection.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I loved the end line of this story, about "men who have sex with men at Nagoya City University!" Its a big problem, and when AIDS first appeared it led to lots of racial discrimination against foreigners in Japan, because it was viewed as a "foreigner disease." Well, we all know it isnt, and that the Japanese are a just a part of the human race, like the rest of us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

next time a nihonjin says anything about "foreign diseases", kindly remind them of the existence of Japanese B encephalitis

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lol 2012 comment! anyways ANYONE could get AIDS/HIV/STD because it's spread throughout the years. n i hate the "foreign diseases" view from japanese. come on! T__T japan! i love your country yet this balony "it doesnt happen in japan" i mean sex parlos etc is legal there why the f aren't u protecting yourselves?! I BLAME THE SCHOOL SYSTEM TEACH THE YOUNGER GENERATION! it's really sad that this aids thing turned up. i mean everyone would be so happy getting preg, not worried bout sickness, i mean lots of love in the world. it just makes me sad and i dont judge ppl if they have aids, love n respect for everyone. AIDS GO AWAY!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites