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Henan to Help AIDS Orphans

Central China's Henan Province has promised to provide more support for orphans of AIDS victims.

With 14 percent of China's HIV-positive population, some 11,844 people, Henan has more than 2,026 children orphaned by the deadly virus.


Henan is also one of several provinces where hundreds were infected by illegal blood transfusions.


In the early 1990s, many low-income farmers from such provinces as Henan, Shanxi and Sichuan sold plasma to illegal blood stations.


Their blood was sometimes infected. They also passed the disease to their wives or husbands.


In recent years, those HIV carriers became full-blown AIDS patients, leaving more and more orphans in need of help.


A joint investigation by the Ministry of Health and the United Nations last year showed China currently has around 840,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers.


HIV/AIDS has not only claimed thousands of lives and created a heavy economic burden for the developing country, but has also left many orphans in dire financial circumstances and without any money to go to school.


While taking tough measures to prevent the spread of AIDS, the province has tried to provide subsistence and schooling to those orphans, provincial governor Wang Jumei told China Youth Daily Friday.


Some of the orphans are raised by relatives or adopted by other families, to each of whom, the government allocates 100 yuan (US$12) every month as a living subsidy.


The rest of the orphans are accommodated in public orphanages, Wang said.


Nationwide, the central government had also worked to prevent the epidemic from spreading, provide medical and living relief for sufferers and help the orphans left by HIV/AIDS victims.


For example, it promised last year to provide free medical treatment for poor HIV/AIDS sufferers who can't afford medicine and other medical services.


Also the State Council issued a national program of HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the middle of 1990s, which aims to limit the number of HIV/AIDS cases to 1.5 million by 2010.


Experts warned that, without immediate measures, about 10 million people may become infected.


The number of cases is rising by 30 percent every year.


(China Daily February 14, 2004)

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