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Sex and sexuality in the Shenzhen tongzhi circle: HIV risk context and migrant men who have sex with men in China

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The paper explores the HIV risk context of migrant men who have sex with men, or tongzhi, in Shenzhen, China. Findings from 42 qualitative interviews indicate that respondents are living within a complex risk environment, characterised by the realities of migration and a 'weak ties', virtual men who have sex with men community, which offers little emotional support but many opportunities for sexual engagement. Male sex work has proliferated in Shenzhen, with respondents informally participating in a type of buy-sell circuit. Respondents' portrayal of their environment and conflicts were underscored by three interacting elements: sexual freedom, migration and traditional Chinese values. The confluence of these factors, and how they may influence risk prioritisation in a multi-risk environment, is explored.
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Keywords: China; HIV; men who have sex with men; risk; sexual networks

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Futures Group International, Washington, USA 2: Institute of Dermato-Venereology, Shenzhen, PRC 3: Centre for Health Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, UK 4: Centre for Infectious Disease, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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