Global Fund Announces $24M Grant to U.K. Program in China To Prevent Spread of HIV Among IDUs, Commercial Sex Workers
The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Thursday announced that China will receive a two-year, $24 million grant to prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users and commercial sex workers, Reuters AlertNet reports (Reuters AlertNet, 6/2). The grant will support a collaborative program with the U.K. Department for International Development that targets injection drug users and commercial sex workers in seven provinces in southern and western China, according to a Global Fund release. The program aims to establish 111 needle-exchange sites and 58 methadone clinics by June 2007 (Global Fund release, 6/2). About 2.5 million to 3 million injection drug users live in the seven provinces -- about half the country's total -- and between 20% and 30% of them are thought to be HIV-positive, according to the Global Fund. Since the Global Fund's inception, it has approved $138.4 million in grants to China, Global Fund spokesperson Jon Liden said (Reuters AlertNet, 6/2).
Chinese Government's Five-Year HIV/AIDS Plan
The Chinese government has pledged about $611 million over the next five years to fight HIV/AIDS in the country (Global Fund release, 6/2). About $474 million of the pledged funds will be used to help local governments combat HIV/AIDS by 2007, Wang Longde, director of the government's Office of the Working Committee for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, said on Friday. In some areas, the government has focused its efforts on providing antiretroviral drugs to HIV/AIDS patients, while other areas concentrate on HIV testing and public awareness about the disease (Wang, China Daily, 6/4). With China's first five-year plan on HIV prevention and treatment ending this year, the next five-year plan will be "critical" in fighting the disease in the country, Wang, who also serves as the vice minister of the Ministry of Health, said, China Daily reports. According to Wang, the government's HIV/AIDS programs will include increased prevention, testing and treatment efforts. China's "four free charges and one care" program provides antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people at no cost, as well as free HIV testing, free education for children who lost parents to AIDS-related illnesses, free prenatal treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women and free treatment for older people whose children have died of an AIDS-related illnesses, according to China Daily. Testing and prevention efforts will focus on groups with an increased risk of contracting HIV, including commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and prisoners, China Daily reports (Zhang/Wang, China Daily, 6/2). The Chinese government estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people in the country and that 80,000 of those people have AIDS. However, international experts and advocates say that the actual number of HIV-positive people in China probably is between one million and 1.5 million. UNAIDS has said that the number of HIV-positive people living in China could increase to 10 million by 2010 unless steps are taken to address the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/20).