HIV/AIDS sufferers can receive free therapies
HIV infected people and AIDS patients in rural China and those urbanites with
low incomes are now eligible for no cost anti-virus treatments, according to a
document jointly released by the ministries of health and finance yesterday in
Since July 2003, the central government has promised to provide free medical
treatments for HIV carriers stricken by poverty, said Hao Yang, director of the
HIV/AIDS division of the Ministry of Health.
And up to now, about 6,000 AIDS patients have received treatments in various
regions, including Central China's Henan Province.
According to a ministerial document, to qualify for free medical treatments,
patients must be rural residents, or urban citizens who have economic
difficulties and are not covered by any basic medical insurance.
About 8,000 AIDS patients have been registered in China, while it is believed
there are 840,000 HIV carriers including 80,000 AIDS patients, according to
Only about 10 per cent of the country's HIV/AIDS sufferers know they have the
disease, which makes it difficult for health authorities to prevent the virus
from spreading and for providing free treatment.
About 70 per cent of those infected with the deadly virus live in rural
areas, experts said.
"The launch of new document outlining the cost-free treatment policy is
expected to encourage more HIV/AIDS people to come out and ask for free medical
treatment," Hao told China Daily.
Meanwhile, health authorities at all levels say they will pay great attention
to protecting the privacy interests of the people who seek care, Hao noted.
Patients will be required to show relevant identification documents to
confirm their rural residency or economic difficulties when they apply for
Besides anti-HIV medicines, free medicines against common diseases caused by
immunity disorders experienced by people with AIDS or HIV will also be given to
patients in areas where serious epidemics and laggard economies exist.
These diseases include bacterial infections,blood poisoning, skin disorders,
tuberculosis and dozens of others. Meanwhile, a free medical service will also
be provided to prevent the virus spreading from mothers to infants.
The central government will allocate money for the anti-virus medicines for
some regions which are seriously stricken by HIV, including Southwest China's
Yunnan and Sichuan, West China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and some
provinces in Central China, such as Henan and Hubei.
China announced a list of 51 county-level regions that will serve as pilot
zones for AIDS prevention and treatment.
The 51 pilot zones, set up by the Ministry of Health last year, had
relatively heavier AIDS problems.