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China to limit HIV cases to 1.5m by 2010
Updated: 2005-10-23 10:38

China will take measures to ensure that by the year 2010, the number of people infected with HIV does not exceed 1.5 million, Xinhua quoted a Chinese health official as saying on Saturday.

Dai Zhicheng, the head of the Chinese Association of STD/AIDS Prevention, and also the National Experts' Committee on HIV/AIDS under the Ministry of Health, made these remarks at an international seminar on sexually transmitted disease in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing.

Experts estimate that China now has 840,000 people infected with HIV including 80,000 AIDS patients. Dai Zhicheng says that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in China could exceed 10 million by 2010, if strong measures are not taken to control the spread of the disease.

The expert noted that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, with dozens of billions of Yuan allocated over the last few years.

In order to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, China has begun a campaign to promote the use of condoms and safe injection practices, as well as providing care for AIDS patients. The government has offered free check ups and medical treatments for sufferers, as well as providing free schooling for their children, Dai Zhicheng added.

It is reported that a test program which treats HIV/AIDS carriers with traditional Chinese medicine has seen some preliminary clinical achievements. According to the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, since China launched the program last August, eleven provinces and municipalities have signed on.

In contrast to Western-style drugs that can have many side effects and are very expensive, the cost of traditional Chinese medicine for use in the treatment of HIV/AIDS is relatively low, and there are fewer side effects reported.

The World Health Organization says that over one-third of the people living in developing countries lack access to essential medicines.

As China has fully integrated traditional medicine into its health care system, the provision of safe and effective traditional medicine therapies could become a critical means to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment.

The first international seminar on sexually transmitted disease is co-sponsored by the Chinese Association of STD/AIDS Prevention and the Chongqing Association of Science and Technology.

It has attracted over 300 participants from the US, Germany, Australia and other parts of the country. The participants will exchange ideas and information about the latest developments in the area of sexually transmitted diseases and on new technologies and treatments.

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