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More Help for HIV/AIDS Orphans in Henan

AIDS orphans and lonely elderly people in central China's Henan province will receive greater financial support from the local government starting from April.

The poverty reduction office, civil affairs department and financial bureau of Henan Province have jointly issued a notice on standardizing and strengthening relief work for children who became orphans, and lonely elders, because of AIDS.

In order to improve the lives and safeguard the rights of these people, the aforementioned three departments encouraged relatives of the orphans and welfare organizations to take up the responsibility to help this special disadvantageous group.

The notice says that orphans who brought up by their relatives can attend primary school and junior middle school free of charge and will receive financial support to finish study at institutions of higher learning.

Each AIDS orphan will be given 180 yuan (US$21.77) and an AIDS elderly loner 240 yuan (US$29.03) for medical care annually. Each of these orphans and elderly people can receive 160 yuan (US$19.35) each month.

Orphans can enjoy such treatment until they are 18 years old and the elderly get the support starting from the age of 60.

Orphans adopted and brought up by other families can get 130 yuan each month from local civil affairs departments for three straight years, from the day of their adoption.

The notice says that over 80 percent of the relief funds will be provided by provincial revenue.

Henan now has 2,012 AIDS orphans and elderly loners, according to statistics from the provincial government.

In Shangcai County, there are 700 AIDS orphans. Local civil affairs departments have received more than 120 applications for the adoption of AIDS orphans from urban families across China since the beginning of the year.

Official statistics show 11,844 people have been confirmed HIV positive in the province and 5,499 have contracted AIDS.

China reportedly has 840,000 HIV carriers including 80,000 AIDS patients.

Wang Jumei, vice-governor of Henan province, said to help and improve the lives of AIDS orphans and elderly loners was a crucial part of the work to prevent and contain the spread of AIDS.

(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2004)

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