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Sino-Australian Cooperation on Fighting AIDS
China and Australia have made progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and care cooperation, and Australia wishes to promote cooperation with China in health, environmental protection and education, an Australian official said Monday in Urumqi.

Australian Ambassador to China David Irvine, who is currently studying an HIV/AIDS prevention and care project jointly initiated by China and Australia, made the remark during a visit to an AIDS intervention pilot community near Urumqi, capital city of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The five-year project, involving 21 million Australian Dollars, is aimed at strengthening Xinjiang's capability to fight the AIDS epidemic using a multi-sectoral prevention and care strategy.

Following his visit to Kashi and Urumqi, Irvine said that the AIDS epidemic is not only a health problem, but an issue which affects economic, social and cultural aspects, and therefore demands efforts from all sectors of the society.

Australia will provide financial support, technical guidance and training programs within the scope of its capacity, he said.

Wang Shaohua, deputy director of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Health Department, said the regional government attaches great importance to the project.

In order to design AIDS prevention and care programs, some local governments have organized seminars with the participation of talented multi-sectoral local groups who are putting their advanced experience to the task.

Since the discovery of the first HIV case in Xinjiang in 1995, the number of HIV positive cases has risen considerably, Wang said, adding that the majority of these patients contracted the virus through intravenous drug use.

The regional government has carried out effective prevention work, making medium- and long-term plans, organizing training courses and launching supervision programs, he said.

With respect to the HIV/AIDS prevention work in Xinjiang, international support is important to the funding and management of the programs, he said.

Together with Australia, the World Bank and the United States also provide aid for HIV prevention in Xinjiang. In addition, China and Australia have initiated another joint AIDS prevention project in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

(People’s Daily September 3, 2002)

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