Chinese President Appears on TV With AIDS Patients; Premier Calls for ‘Unremitting Efforts’ To Fight Epidemic
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday appeared on state-run television shaking hands with AIDS patients, the first time a Chinese president has done so, the AP/ Long Island Newsday reports (Ang, AP/Long Island Newsday, 11/30). The appearance came less than a week after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in a statement called for "greater, substantial efforts in creating public awareness about the issue and making strenuous efforts to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS." Wen said that China has made "remarkable progress" in its HIV/AIDS prevention and control programs but that the country is facing a "worsening crisis," Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 11/30). He urged all departments of the government to "give priority" to HIV/AIDS by "utilizing all sorts of resources and conscientiously implementing all preventive and control policies and measures" (Xinhuanet, 11/30). During Hu's television appearance, he wore a red AIDS ribbon and spoke with an unidentified, HIV-positive male patient at Beijing's You'an Hospital. "The party and the government are all concerned about you," Hu told the man, adding, "I hope you will have confidence in your treatment by cooperating with the hospital and trying to have an early recovery." Wen last year "set the new tone" for the government's stepped-up efforts against HIV/AIDS after he was photographed with HIV-positive people, according to the AP/Newsday. The Chinese government recently has launched efforts to increase public HIV/AIDS awareness and provide treatment for HIV-positive people after "years of denying it was a problem," the AP/Newsday reports. UNAIDS estimates that about 840,000 HIV-positive people live in China, but some experts estimate that number could rise to 10 million by 2010 (AP/Long Island Newsday, 11/30).
San Francisco Group Funds Small HIV/AIDS Projects in China
The AIDS Relief Fund for China, a San Francisco-based not-for-profit organization that "seeks out projects that might otherwise be too small to garner the attention of large foundations and international organizations," on Wednesday marked its one-year anniversary, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The fund has given "little grants," such as $2,000 to raise awareness of HIV infection among drug users and commercial sex workers in the city of Xichang and $2,000 to teach rural women in Hebei province about reproductive health, according to the Chronicle. "We want to help the small guy," Humphrey Wou, the program's director said, adding, "If no one has heard of them, we give them a benefit of a doubt. We've dug up some groups no one knew about before." Drew Card, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies -- a Washington, D.C.-based think tank -- said, "These on-the-ground interventions make a big difference in a small community or in an individual" (Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/1).