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Independent Clause on AIDS Prevention Put into Law

China is for the first time considering the addition of an independent clause on AIDS prevention in its contagious disease prevention and control law. The clause has been added to the draft amendment to the law, which has been submitted to the ongoing 11th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for its third deliberation.

The clause says, "Governments at all levels must strengthen AIDS prevention and control work in a bid to curb further spread of the disease. Detailed measures can be stipulated by the State Council."

Hu Guangbao, deputy director of NPC's Law Committee, said the draft is expected to be passed at this meeting, as it incorporates all the suggestions of lawmakers given in the previous two deliberations.

The Standing Committee previously considered the draft in April and June this year.

During the first two deliberations, some members suggested that the law should designate the State Council as the body to implement regulations on AIDS prevention and control. There were also recommendations that a clause on eliminating discrimination against people with AIDS should be written into the law, because social bias against them has become serious. Other suggestions were the incorporation of clauses stating that blood collection organizations must guarantee quality of blood products and specifying punishment for illegal blood collection and selling.

China reported its first AIDS case in 1985. By the end of 2003, the country had 840,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS and the epidemic had spread to all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The most recent statistics indicate that 11 percent of AIDS patients were infected by blood transfusion.

(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2004)

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