Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Chinese City Distributing Condoms, Province Providing Clean Needles Amid Rising AIDS Rates
China's most populous city Chongqing has launched an initiative to distribute free condoms and the southern province of Guangdong is making clean needles available in designated pharmacies to curb rising AIDS rates in the country, Agence France-Presse reports. Chongqing plans to distribute one million condoms annually to achieve a 50% condom usage rate among people such as prostitutes and their clients who are at high risk for contracting the virus. Previous attempts at handing out condoms on the streets and installing condom vending machines in public places have been unsuccessful because many residents believe that condom distribution encourages sexual activity. Guangdong province has begun to sell clean needles at certain pharmacies in response to reports that 53% of injection drug users share needles. Agence France-Presse reports that the Chinese government is "gradually facing up to" the growing AIDS crisis in the country. According to official estimates, China had approximately one million AIDS cases by the end of the first half of 2002; however, the United Nations predicted in June that the country already had 1.5 million cases and faced an "AIDS catastrophe." Some Chinese officials recently stated that the country could have 10 million AIDS cases by 2010 "if radical measures are not adopted soon," Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 11/21).
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