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Jiangsu Intensifies AIDS Prevention

The HIV/AIDS monitoring network in East China's Jiangsu Province will be further strengthened to ensure that more monitoring sites are set up in hospitals and disease control and prevention centres.

A provincial working conference on HIV/AIDS control and prevention was held in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, over the weekend to help achieve this objective.

At the conference, the provincial government declared that important AIDS prevention measures would be put into effect immediately.

Officials from the health, civil affairs, education, public security and finance departments of 13 cities of the province attended the conference.

Provincial Vice-Governor Wang Zhan said at the conference that AIDS control and prevention is at a crucial stage.

"Although the epidemic situation of AIDS in the province is not serious now, the disease is spreading at a very fast speed. At this critical moment, we should spare no effort in carrying out strong measures to keep AIDS under control," he emphasized.

Monitoring the AIDS epidemic is the most effective means of AIDS control and prevention, he said.

A basic AIDS monitoring and examination network has already been established in the province.

It has been up and running for five years and has examined about 3.1 million high-risk people, including drug addicts, blood sellers, prostitutes and their clients.

AIDS control and prevention publicity and education should be given greater importance, Wang said, especially for high-risk people and teenagers.

Education department officials said AIDS control and prevention education will be put into the provincial middle school curriculum this autumn.

There must be six classes on AIDS control and prevention in junior high schools every term, and four classes in senior high schools.

And in colleges and universities, elective courses or lectures on such topics should be provided for students, no less than two every term.

Wang also indicated that the government departments should act to prevent dangerous behaviour which may cause AIDS infection and help AIDS patients, HIV carriers and their relatives.

Examples of this work are the popularization of condoms, providing methadone treatment for drug addicts and setting up special funds for AIDS prevention.

Official statistics show that since 1991, when the first HIV carrier was found in Jiangsu Province, a total of 537 HIV carriers have been found in the province, among whom 100 are AIDS patients.

In recent years, the number of HIV carriers is increasing annually by more than 50 per cent, and the number of AIDS patients is increasing by more than 100 per cent, which is higher than the average national rate.

And reports of AIDS cases are coming from all the 13 cities of the province, among which Nanjing, Xuzhou, Suzhou, Changzhou and Wuxi account for 81.4 per cent.

(China Daily August 2, 2004)

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