Impact of HIV/AIDS on Social Relationships in Rural China

Yurong Zhang1, Xiulan Zhang1, Tamara Hanko Aleong2, Esme Fuller-Thomson*, 2, 3
1 School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
2 Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, Ontario, Canada
3 Department of Family & Community Medicine University of Toronto, Canada

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© Zhang et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada; Tel: 416 978-3269; Fax: 416 978-7072; E-mail:


Social support promotes greater medical compliance, better immune system functioning and slows the progress of HIV/AIDS. One in every 50 People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is Chinese, yet little is known about the impact of HIV/AIDS on social relationships in China. This study compares the characteristics of those who report that HIV/AIDS had a substantial impact versus a modest impact on their social relationships. We obtained data from a survey of 866 PLWHA in rural China, which was conducted in 2006-2007 in the three Chinese provinces with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Chi-square test and multiple logistic regression were performed. The analysis shows that PLWHA who had full-blown AIDS (OR= 1.53; 95% CI=1.09-2.13) and those who were poor (OR=2.19; 95% CI=1.52-3.16) reported greater impact on their social relationships. The results lay a solid foundation for designing effective policy initiatives and intervention programs aimed at alleviating the impact of HIV/AIDS on social relationships and improving the quality of life of PLWHA.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, China, social relationships, developing world, social support..