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Number of Reported HIV Sufferers Nears 150,000
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China's Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that the country had reported an accumulated number of 144,089 HIV carriers by the end of 2005.

There were 32,886 AIDS patients among the reported HIV carriers and 8,404 of them had died, said Mao Qunan, spokesman of the ministry, at a press conference.

More than 20,000 AIDS patients had received anti-virus treatment in China, and Chinese traditional medicine had been increasingly adopted in the war against AIDS, Mao said.

In the worst-hit areas like central China's Henan Province, the disease's death rate dropped to 7.68 percent in 2005 from 15.42 percent in 2001, he said.

China also paid great attention to the health conditions of the high-risk groups, and carried out promotional campaigns on the use of condoms among high-risk people in Hubei, Hunan, Yunnan and other provinces, he said.

Methadone therapy has been used in 21 provinces and 7,115 drug addicts had received this therapy by the end of last November, the spokesman said.

To support all these efforts, China's central government allocated 801 million yuan (US$100 million) to AIDS prevention and treatment in 2005 and some 280 million yuan was added by provincial governments, according to the ministry.

A latest assessment jointly issued by the ministry, the World Health Organization and United Nations AIDS Program estimated there are 650,000 HIV carriers, including 75,000 AIDS patients, in China.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2006)

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