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New AIDS Program with Global Fund Financing Launched in SW China

Altogether 17 counties, cities and districts in southwest China's Yunnan Province will benefit by a new AIDS control program with financial support from the Global Fund.

Zhang Chang'an, director of the office with the Yunnan Provincial AIDS Control Work Committee, said the program, with a term of two years, was designed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS among mainline drug consumers and commercial sex workers, and reduce the negative impact of the killer disease by way of introducing comprehensive preventive measures.

They include methadone substitute, syringe swap, behavior change via publicity and peer education, use of condoms, regular, standardized service to patients with sexually transmitted diseases, as well as automatic consulting and testing.

The program involves a budget of 5.79 million US dollars, including 1.31 million US dollars worth of supportive fund provided by the Chinese partners. It has been executed in the province's Gejiu, Kaiyuan, Dali, Lincang, Simao, and Kunming, the provincial capital, and will be introduced to the rest of the target areas in the province by October, said Zhang.

Yunnan, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam, is one of the worst affected areas by HIV/AIDS. And 70 percent of the patients in the province have contracted the pandemic disease with no cure via mainline drug consumption.

The Global Fund, which began operation in Jan. 2002, was created to dramatically increase resources for fighting AIDS, TB and malaria, the three of the world's most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of the greatest need.

(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2005)

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