A project designed to spread awareness of AIDS among the young people in rural China was launched Monday in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The AIDS Prevention and Care Cooperation Project was jointly initiated by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and relevant Chinese departments including the ministries of Health, Justice and Public Security and the Center for Disease Control.
At the project's launching ceremony, Dr Christian Voumard, a representative for UNICEF's China branch, said although the HIV infection rate among the Chinese adults was only 0.11 percent, the number of HIV carriers and AIDS patients in China had been rising quickly.
Preliminary figures from UNICEF show that most of infected people live in the rural areas of China and over 50 percent of them are aged between 20 and 29.
As the number of those highly vulnerable to the disease keeps rising, Voumard believes an urgent need is to inform more Chinese about the disease and give more care and respect to AIDS patients.
Since the first case of HIV infection was found in Ningxia in 1994, the region has reported a total of 19 HIV carriers.
As a participant in the project, the Ningxia regional government has already mapped out an action plan to limit the disease. The provinces of Jilin, Henan, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Liaoning, and Hunan as well as Chongqing Municipality have also jointed the program.
Statistics from the United Nations reveal that by the end of 2002, there were more than 42 million HIV carriers worldwide. In 2002 alone, nearly three million people died of AIDS and some five million became infected with HIV.
(Xinhua News Agency March 17, 2003)