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US$100m to beef up anti-AIDS efforts
Updated: 2005-10-27 16:44

SUZHOU -- Vice Health Minister Wang Longde said Thursday that China's 2005 financial input in the fight against HIV/AIDS will be no less than last year's 830 million yuan (103.75 million US dollars) and the figure is expected to be higher next year.

Speaking at the Oct. 26-28 International Symposium on ODA (Official Development Assistance) for Population and Development, Wang said China is working on next year's AIDS budget and the figure of 830 million yuan only represents the central government's share without adding local governments investment and international organizations assistance.

He also said non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should, under the guidance of the government, play a greater role in the anti-AIDS campaign as the epidemic, mainly transmitted through unsafe sex behavior, fails to be checked by legal restrictions or government work alone.

The Chinese government will invest in training staffers or volunteers out of the high-risk groups, such as sex workers or men have sex with men, to advocate AIDS prevention and control.

Wang said that China is to issue regulations on AIDS prevention and control at the end of 2005. The regulations have been drafted by the Ministry of Health.

"The Ministry is lending ears to all walks of life including the HIV infected, looking for room to improve the regulations," Wang said.

He said the regulations aim to protect the legal rights of the HIV infected and AIDS patient. Any irresponsible government official who does little to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS will be punished according to the regulations, he added.

The Chinese government will also report new figures reflecting the current situation of HIV/AIDS in China around December 1, World AIDS Day.

He said China is making efforts to enact laws to eliminate discrimination against patients of all infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS.

By the end of 2006, Chinese officials above county-levels must attend courses on AIDS prevention and control so as to guide the public in combating AIDS-related discrimination.

China reported more than 120,000 HIV infected cases and nearly 30,000 AIDS patients by last June, with over 7,000 of them dead. The figures are expected to be updated around World AIDS Day that falls on Dec. 1.

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