Gates Foundation To Launch $50M HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaign in Partnership With Chinese Government, NGOs
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday announced that it plans to launch a $50 million HIV/AIDS prevention campaign in partnership with the Chinese government and nongovernmental organizations, the Seattle Times reports. The program will be led in Beijing by Ray Yip, a former U.S. CDC director in China and a senior adviser to UNICEF China, and will include a small number of technical and funding support staff from the Gates Foundation (Heim, Seattle Times, 11/14).
The partnership will expand prevention programs in 12 major cities -- including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and the island province of Hainan -- with the aim of referring people at high-risk of HIV infection to voluntary counseling and testing centers, the Wall Street Journal reports (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 11/14). The program plans to target groups including men who have sex with men, injection drug users and commercial sex workers. About $20 million of the initial grant will go to the Chinese Ministry of Health and the remaining $30 million will be used to provide grants to local, national and international NGOs (Gates Foundation release, 11/14).
According to the Times, the Chinese program's approach -- which includes training to reduce high-risk behavior, public education campaigns and expanding HIV testing programs -- is similar to the Gates Foundation's Avahan program in India (Seattle Times, 11/14). For the estimated 650,000 HIV-positive people in China, the program will stress not transmitting the disease further, according to the Journal (Wall Street Journal, 11/14).
"By rapidly expanding access to effective HIV prevention, China has an opportunity to prevent a widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic," Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program, said, adding, "China's leaders say they are serious about fighting AIDS, and we're pleased to partner with them on these efforts." Wu Zunyou, director of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "To effectively fight HIV/AIDS, we must ensure that prevention programs reach those most likely to become infected and transmit the virus to others." Wu added, "At the same time, we must combat the terrible stigma that still surrounds the disease in our country."
UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said, "I am very encouraged by the good progress that China is making in responding to the AIDS epidemic," adding, "I am sure this valuable new commitment from the Gates Foundation ... will lead to an even stronger response to HIV in China at all levels" (Gates Foundation release, 11/14). Bill Gates said that a "more widespread AIDS epidemic would have tremendous consequences for China and the rest of the world." He added that "it can be averted if we move quickly to expand prevention efforts" (Wall Street Journal, 11/14).