China Announces Nationwide Plan To Improve HIV/AIDS Prevention
The Chinese government on Sunday announced a new nationwide effort to combat HIV/AIDS, including free antiretroviral treatment to reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission and a new HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, the New York Times reports. The plan calls for AIDS education to be included in all middle school, vocational school and college curricula. According to the plan, HIV/AIDS prevention posters will be displayed at "entertainment venues," and medical workers will be required to discuss HIV/AIDS prevention methods such as condom usage with patients, the Times reports (Yardley, New York Times, 5/10). The plan calls on railway, civil aviation and other public transportation departments to publicize HIV prevention information to passengers, and the government will provide financial assistance to poor HIV-positive individuals and their families, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. In addition, the Chinese Red Cross and health departments at all levels will try to stop the illegal blood trade by encouraging more people to donate blood, according to the government (AFP/Yahoo News!, 5/9). Vice Premier and Health Minister Wu Yi said that China needs to have a "crackdown" on illegal blood sales and commercial sex work, both of which have led to the spread of the virus, according to the Times (New York Times, 5/10). The government also will judge local officials on their HIV/AIDS prevention work, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. Wu said that China's HIV/AIDS epidemic has "reached a critical period," according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo News!, 5/9). The Chinese government estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people living in the country and that 80,000 people have AIDS; however, some experts believe those figures are underestimates. The United Nations estimates that at least one million HIV-positive people live in China and the number could grow to 20 million by 2010 if efforts to prevent the virus are not implemented (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/30).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.