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Assisting AIDS Patients Program
A total of 300 HIV/AIDS patients in southwest China's Yunnan Province will benefit from a three-year clinical study program aimed at finding a feasible way to treat the large numbers of HIV-positive patients in China.

The program will assess the convenience and tolerability of treatment for patients as well as look at the practicalness of treatment from the perspective of health care providers.

The program, launched on Thursday, is a collaboration between the Yunnan provincial government, the New York-based Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies that produce AIDS drugs.

The program will adopt the worldwide-used drug cocktail treatment, which is a combination of several AIDS drugs.

GlaxoSmithKline will provide the program with trizivir, a product that contains three AIDS drugs, zidovudine, lamivudine and abacavir, company representative said.

According David Ho, executive director of the center, trizivir has been proven effective in AIDS treatment and used in the United States for more than three years.

Ho, a well-known expert in AIDS treatment, said he hoped that the program will set an example for AIDS treatment in China.

"We have worked closely along with our Chinese counterparts to develop a treatment program that not only provides drugs, but also invests in the local health care infrastructure," said Ho.

Cao Yunzhen, deputy director of the research center under the China Academy of Medical Sciences, said a network for AIDS treatment will be established in Yunnan Province.

Cao said the Yunnan provincial government will invest 24 million yuan (US$2.9 million) to improve the AIDS laboratory in the province's center for disease control to support the program.

The number of HIV/AIDS cases in China is estimated at 1 million at the end of June. Yunnan Province has the largest number of HIV cases in the country.

(China Daily October 22, 2002)

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