But government figures show that increasing multiculturalism in Korea since the 1980s is roughly correlated with a rise in cases of AIDS in Korea over the same period, which appears to prove the long-standing belief that foreigners are spreading AIDS in this country. It might not be deliberate, but the question now is what can be done to control the spread of AIDS without causing an international incident?
In a 2009 survey, 35% of Koreans said that people with HIV or AIDS should be segregated from society, possibly unaware that a trial colony had been set up in the Itaewon district of Seoul some years ago, although this ultimately proved unsuccessful because foreigners sometimes strayed from the district and so AIDS spread.
Some politicians had argued that people with AIDS should be sent to the deliberately isolated Sorok Island in South Jeolla province, home to one of the last leper colonies left on Earth – but hopes were dashed when South Jeolla authorities decided to build a bridge to the island as part of its Leper World Theme Park project. While the theme park remains uncompleted due to financial issues, the bridge was opened in 2007, and the island is no longer considered a safe quarantine zone.
Now, with government resources already fully stretched fighting another outbreak of the British mad cow disease and Western-style populism caused by excessive democracy, the nation can ill-afford to open up a battle on a new front with AIDS, leading many to believe that desperate measures are required. Rising to the challenge, December 1st sees the launch of a campaign in which Koreans are being advised to masturbate to prevent AIDS, under the slogan "Love Yourself - Stop AIDS".
While the campaign may be something of a shot in the dark, the Ministry of Health have high hopes that masturbation might be the answer to Korea's problems, although foreign critics say it hasn't helped so far. But the Ministry argue that this is the first time that the government will take a hands-on approach towards supporting masturbation in Korea, aside from the Dokdo International Masturbation Festival - which while only involving Koreans is primarily targeted at foreigners.
A number of conservative-leaning civic groups have quietly applauded the move, saying that aside from fighting AIDS, masturbation is the only way their male members can have sex with an equal in Korea.
If the project is successful, the Ministry of Unification says it may launch a 'Masturbate for Peace' campaign.
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