Chinese Health Officials Announce Plan to Broaden Public Awareness of HIV/AIDSChinese health officials and organizations will "work harder" to broaden public awareness of HIV/AIDS through a number of pilot projects, Chinese Health Minster Zhang Wenkang said Tuesday, China Daily reports. Zhang stated that a pilot project providing comprehensive care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS will be carried out in 100 "key areas" of the country where the epidemic is on the rise. In addition, the health ministry plans to develop a better monitoring system to track the spread of the virus in the country. Chinese medical experts are also examining whether traditional medicine can be used to treat people with HIV. "China's central government, its branches at various levels and various social groups have devoted a great deal of time, energy and money to fighting the disease and taking care of" people with HIV/AIDS, Zhang stated. Experts have warned that the number of HIV-positive Chinese people could reach 10 million by 2010 if preventive measures are not taken (Feng, China Daily, 10/16).
City Passes Anti-Discrimination Laws
Suzhou, a city in eastern China, has passed the country's first law protecting the people with AIDS from discrimination, Agence France-Presse reports. People with AIDS and their families who live in the city will be "guaranteed equal rights of employment, education and health care" under the law. In addition, the law bars public access to the medical records of people with AIDS. It is not clear whether the law will apply to all HIV-positive people in Suzhou. International AIDS groups have "consistently" criticized China for discriminating against people with AIDS, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 10/16).