Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Beijing Eager to Prove AIDS Progress

China's attitude toward AIDS and the HIV virus that causes it has changed dramatically since it finally admitted two years ago that the country was facing a serious problem. Now the government in Beijing is eager to prove it is tackling the spread of the virus. But many say the work being done in China is far from enough.

China says it has 840,000 HIV/AIDS cases among its 1.3 billion population, but experts believe the number is much higher.

The WHO has said the virus is spreading rapidly through China and estimates 10-million people may be infected there by 2010.

But ahead of The World AIDS day (December 1), the Chinese Health Ministry has pledged to keep the number of people infected to below 1.5 million by 2010, through strong preventive measures.

Health Minister Gao Qiang told reporters Wednesday halting the spread of the disease is essential for the country's development. "AIDS prevention work is an issue relating to the quality of the population, economic development, social stability and the rise or decline of the country," he saidl

Intravenous drug use and unsafe sex are the main channels for the spread of the virus in China.

China's current measures to prevent the virus spreading and help those infected include free medication for AIDS patients, cracking down on drug related crimes, and tightening up on blood donation procedures.

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