China To Provide Free Condoms to All HIV-Positive People
The Chinese government on Monday announced that it plans to begin providing free condoms to all HIV-positive people as part of an effort to ensure that at least 50% of all groups at high risk of contracting HIV use condoms by the end of 2005, AFP/Independent Online reports (AFP/Independent Online, 8/2). The Chinese government estimates that 840,000 HIV-positive live people in the country and that 80,000 people have AIDS; however, some experts believe that those figures are an underestimate. The United Nations estimates that there are about one million HIV-positive people in China (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/13). Six government departments, including the Ministry of Health, the State Population and Family Planning Commission and the State Food and Drug Administration, jointly issued rules and recommendations on expanding the use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission, saying that free condoms will be distributed through the country's health and family planning network (Xinhuanet/China View, 7/30). The government will install condom vending machines at universities in Beijing, and condoms will be provided directly or through machines at hotels, bars and in regions that have a large number of migrants (UPI/Washington Times, 8/1). In addition, in Haikou, the capital of South China's Hainan province, the departments of health, public security and tourism will work to increase condom use, according to China's Business Daily Update (Business Daily Update, 8/2).
The government also is preparing to construct the country's first HIV/AIDS treatment center in Southwest China's Yunnan province, Xinhuanet/China View reports. At the end of June, Yunnan had 16,141 HIV-positive people and 1,063 people with AIDS -- the highest numbers reported by any province in the country (Xinhuanet/China View, 8/2). The government in July 2003 promised to provide poor, HIV-positive people with no-cost medical treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/15). The new center, which will cost $19.3 million, will be able to house 200 patients, Provincial Vice Governor Wu Xiaoqing said. In addition, the center will work to develop treatment and offer consultation and training programs for health workers, Wu said (Xinhuanet/China View, 8/2).