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Initiative will fight HIV/AIDS

By CAO DESHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-05 08:02
Peng Liyuan, wife of President Xi Jinping, and wives of African heads of state and government gather for a photo on Tuesday in Beijing. At a meeting on the same day, they launched an initiative by China and Africa to combat HIV/AIDS. ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

While leaders of China and African nations were having a roundtable meeting on partnership on Tuesday, their wives were busy discussing another important issue-AIDS prevention-on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

The wives unveiled a joint initiative to build a future free of AIDS at the China-Africa Thematic Meeting on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

"We have old friends and new partners gathering here because we have a shared goal-join hand in hand to fight against AIDS," Peng Liyuan, wife of President Xi Jinping and World Health Organization goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, told the meeting participants.

Combating HIV/AIDS is a global priority, and China and Africa have developed productive cooperation in that battle, Peng said, adding that the Beijing Summit has provided new opportunities for both sides to deepen their partnership in this regard.

After 30 years of effort, China has made great progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and control, and people's awareness of the need to prevent the disease has been improved, Peng said.

"China has pursued a path of AIDS prevention and control with Chinese characteristics," she said.

Peng has been the WHO goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS since 2011. In China, she became the health ambassador for HIV/AIDS prevention for the Ministry of Health in January 2006 and the national ambassador for TB control and prevention in March 2007.

Peng announced at the meeting that China will launch a three-year program with African countries and relevant international organizations, especially for Chinese and African youths and focused on community health promotion, as part of its efforts to increase support for African countries in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

Wives of 37 African leaders as well as representatives of the WHO and UNAIDS attended the meeting.

Tshepo Motsepe, wife of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, said at the meeting, "It is critical to focus efforts and resources on prevention of the disease," which is a global public health problem.

"Let us all work together to stand against HIV infection across the African continent and across the world. As the HIV epidemic has no boundaries, together, we can make a difference in curbing the spread of HIV," she said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe commended the China-Africa cooperation in HIV/AIDS prevention and control, lauding Peng's outstanding contributions in promoting HIV/AIDS prevention as well as her personal care and attention to AIDS patients and those infected with HIV.

HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment is one of the key fields of partnership under the framework of FOCAC. China has sent medical teams to more than 40 countries as part of its efforts to support African countries in combating HIV/AIDS.

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