The Health Ministry announced on Monday a list of 51 county-level areas serving as pilot zones for AIDS prevention and treatment.
The pilot zones, set up by the Health Ministry in 2003, have more severe AIDS problems than the nation’s other 2,000-plus counties. The ministry seeks to develop an effective AIDS prevention and treatment mechanism through the pilot programs.
The ministry’s spokesman said the programs being carried out in the pilot zones included distributing free anti-retroviral drugs, reduction of high-risk behavior, prevention of maternal transmission of HIV, assistance and care for AIDS patients and voluntary counseling and testing.
The 51 pilot zones are located in 11 provinces, mainly in central China. Six are in Hubei Province, six in Hunan, five in Anhui, five in Hebei, two in Shaanxi, four in Shanxi, four in Shandong, nine in Henan, five in Guizhou, four in Liaoning and one in Heilongjiang.
The ministry’s goal is to enable 70 percent of the population in the pilot zones to learn about AIDS and ensure 95 percent of the HIV carriers, AIDS patients and their spouses use condoms.
The ministry hopes that over 90 percent of the HIV carriers and AIDS patients in the pilot zones will receive regular treatment, health services and other care.
“Some of our measures have taken effect and produced good results, but more efforts need to be made,” the spokesman said.
China now has an estimated 840,000 people infected with HIV, of which 80,000 are AIDS patients. Since 2001, the number of AIDS cases in China has climbed significantly.
The spokesman said the ministry has asked local health authorities in the 51 pilot zones to further improve patients’ lives, protect their legal rights and prevent the further spreading of AIDS.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2004)