Ok, we all realize how one comment from a teenager is hardly indicative of the thought and actions of a nation, but the young lady in question sadly may not be alone.
HIV infections have steadily been rising in Japan, and attitudes such as this (plus a general lack of information) have certainly been playing their part. The facts below appear to prove that such a blasé disposition is becoming more common.
By gender men accounted for most of the infections, but restricted to the 15- to 19-year-old group females accounted for 68.8 percent of the infections. In the 20- to 24-year-old group the figure reached 57 percent.
A separate survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found that the number of artificial abortions carried out by women under 20 climbed from 26,117 in 1995 to 46,511 in 2001. The number of issued condoms dropped from 1.1 million to 840,000 during the same period.
Pretty telling statistics I think you’ll agree. And whilst they don’t point towards an epidemic as such, they surely should be seen as a cause for concern for those in charge. But alas, in Japan it would appear that it’s often easier to stick your head in the sand and blame it on somebody else.
I don’t think I’m too far off the mark to say that many Japanese still see HIV as a foreign disease (apparently that’s the main reason that foreigners aren’t usually allowed in most of the entertainment establishments that abound in Japan). And so therefore it’s not something to be overly concerned about. The same thing happened to a certain extent with the SARS breakout last year. Some people were even heard to mutter that Japanese people simply couldn’t catch it. I kid you not.
But with the Japanese sex industry being such big business, and it supposedly being common practice for a client to ride bare back if he pays extra, the warnings are clearly there. Combine this with attitudes of the teenager quoted above, and the signs of a potentially big problem are there for all to see. As long as you have your eyes open that is.