BEIJING -- The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) launched a three-year nationwide AIDS prevention and care program here on Friday, aiming to reduce vulnerability to HIV and its impact in the country.
The initiative comes in response to an escalating nationwide HIV epidemic, said Yang Xusheng, director of the HIV Prevention Office with the RCSC.
"It's clear the spread of the virus, increasingly through sexual transmission, is being fuelled by a continuing lack of awareness about the disease," Yang said.
The program will try to increase awareness of the disease through various activities, including education and community mobilization that will cover a population of 27 million people through 2010, said Jiang Yiman, RCSC vice-president.
He said the program would also provide home-based support and care to 90,000 HIV infected people and their family members.
The program is aimed at preventing further infection of the disease and reducing discrimination to HIV carriers in the society.
"As a global leader on many issues, the wisdom and determination with which China addresses many dimensions of HIV -- medical, social, economic, human rights -- will influence others around the world to adopt evidence-based policies and practices," said Mukesh Kapila, Special Representative of the Secretary General of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
According to the Ministry of Health's latest assessment, China has about 700,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, including about 85,000 AIDS patients.