U.N. Secretary-General Praises China’s Role in Combating HIV/AIDS; New Programs Start to Fight Disease
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday praised China's role in combating HIV/AIDS, saying that the world is counting on China to meet Millennium Development Goals, which include halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, Agence France-Presse reports. Annan warned that even if other countries were to meet the goals, "if China had failed to do those things, there would still be terrible consequences for humanity." Annan also urged students to become involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "You should join in the fight and speak about it and let people know and don't be ashamed to talk about it. When it comes to AIDS, silence is death," he said (Agence France-Presse, 10/11).
Beijing Vending Machines
Beijing plans to install 1,000 condom vending machines in hotels, bars, university campuses and construction sites to help curb the spread of HIV, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The machines will dispense condoms -- which are "quality-guaranteed" -- for 12 cents each (AFP/Yahoo! News, 10/9). The capital city currently has 1,700 condom vending machines -- most of which are out of service or empty -- that will be repaired this month, a city health official said, Reuters reports. Almost 75% of the two billion condoms used in China last year were low quality or unpackaged, according to Reuters (Reuters, 10/9). The Chinese government in August announced plans to provide condoms at no cost 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. 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 living in China (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/3).
Free HIV Tests
The southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Sunday began offering free HIV tests to men who have sex with men to research and fight the spread of HIV among the population, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The testing is being organized by the AIDS Prevention and Treatment Institute of the Guangdong Provincial Center as a result of "heightened alarm" over the "rapid rise" of HIV/AIDS cases throughout the country, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News , 10/11). The province also is planning to build a syphilis prevention and treatment center to handle the growing number of patients in the province, which had the highest number of syphilis cases in the country last year, China Daily reports (Qiwen/Caixiong, China Daily, 10/11).