Premier Wen launches battle against AIDS
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised Friday that China, as a big and responsible developing country, will make its contribution to the regional and global fight against AIDS.
In an article issued prior to the 15th International AIDS Conference to be held in Bangkok next week, Wen called on the whole Chinese society to prevent and control the disease, saying AIDS is a major public health and social issue facing the international community.
With the technical help of United Nations institutions, including the World Health Organization, the Chinese Ministry of Health found in a survey last year that there were about 840,000 HIV carriers in China, including 80,000 AIDS patients, mainly in rural areas.
The premier said China is in a key period of time for AIDS prevention and control since the disease is spreading from high-risk groups to ordinary people in some areas, and the impact of the spread on social and economic development in some areas has begun to emerge.
"Governments at all levels and the whole society should attach great importance to AIDS prevention and control," he said, adding the government should mobilize the whole community to curb the spread of the disease through down-to-earth prevention and controlwork.
With regard to the guidelines on AIDS prevention and control, Wen said China would continue its policy of relying on prevention as a fundamental measure while stressing medical treatment.
He said the leadership of government in the fight against AIDS is essential and intergovernmental cooperation and participation of the whole society is also important.
All AIDS prevention and control efforts should be made in accordance with the law while relying on science and technology, said the premier. He also called on scientists to work hard to develop new drugs and optimize therapies.
Describing AIDS prevention and control as a long-term, arduous task, Wen urged efforts to strengthen monitoring of the disease soas to have timely, accurate information about the overall development of the disease, while widely spreading knowledge aboutAIDS and taking all measures to cut off its spread through behavior intervention.
Wen promised the Chinese government would offer more help to AIDS victims and continue to protect their legitimate rights and interests, while increasing investment in programs to improve the country's capability in AIDS prevention and control.
The government would also continue to strengthen international exchanges and cooperation in AIDS prevention and control, the premier said.
For many years, China has conducted fruitful cooperation with more than 20 international organizations and countries in AIDS prevention and control projects in China, he said.
The Chinese government and the Chinese people are confident and capable of winning the battle against AIDS and will make greater contribution to the human society's eventual victory over AIDS, the premier concluded.
Medical Students Rallied To Stop AIDS
1,300 university medical students is sent to the countryside during their summer vacation to teach villagers how to prevent AIDS, the government announced Saturday.
The initiative comes a day after Premier Wen Jiabao warned that AIDS was spreading from high-risk groups to "ordinary people" and ahead of the 15th International AIDS Conference beginning in Bangkok Monday.
Last year, Wen became the first top Chinese leader to shake hands with an AIDS patient and the government sent health workers to the central province of Henan where villages were ravaged by botched blood selling schemes in the 1990s.
Vice Health Minister Wang Longde said Saturday the students' mission was part of an education project initiated by 12 government departments, ministries and organizations to sharpen public awareness, especially among the rural population, youth and women.
China, alongside India and Russia, is one of the countries most at risk from AIDS outside Africa and health agencies say it could have 10 million victims by 2010 if it fails to take the threat seriously.
China reported its first AIDS case in 1985.
"By the end of 2003, the estimated number of HIV carriers in China reached 840,000 and the number is still growing," Xinhua news agency said.
Activists estimate the extent of the outbreak is far higher, saying more than one million are probably infected in Henan alone.
"(Wen) said China is in a key period of time for AIDS prevention and control since the disease is spreading from high-risk groups to ordinary people in some areas, and the impact of the spread on social and economic development in some areas has begun to emerge," Xinhua said.
"The Chinese government and the Chinese people are confident and capable of
winning the battle against AIDS and will make greater contribution to the human
society's eventual victory over AIDS, the premier concluded."