China’s AIDS Epidemic ‘Major Domestic Political Test,’ Editorial Says
The Chinese government's recent recognition of the severity of the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic -- the United Nations estimates that the country could have 10 million people living with HIV by 2010 -- makes controlling the disease a "major domestic political test" for leaders on a "very basic issue ... that resonates deeply with the Chinese Communist Party's own history and its claims to continued legitimacy," a Baltimore Sun editorial says. The country has started a program to "send a wave of AIDS medics to educate the Chinese countryside," the editorial says. However, government officials last week placed a prominent AIDS advocate under house arrest, proving that "old instincts die hard," especially "in a political culture where public security imperatives still can conflict with public health needs," the editorial says. The government "finally has started to awaken to its AIDS problem," but whether such efforts will prove successful "will be a matter of resources, and, not least, political will, including ridding officials of the habit of treating AIDS activism as a public security threat," the editorial concludes (Baltimore Sun, 6/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.