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Beijing to Install Condom Machines to Fight AIDS

Beijing will install about 1,000 condom vending machines in hotels, bars, universities and on construction sites in the Chinese capital this month to fight the spread of AIDS.

The machines will dispense condoms for 1 yuan (US12 cents) a piece and their quality will be guaranteed, a Beijing Disease Control and Prevention Center official was quoted as saying.

The new machines will supplement 1,700 machines already in the capital, many of which are often out of service or empty. Existing machines will be repaired this month, Guan Baoying, a city health bureau official, said.

China says it has 840,000 HIV /AIDS cases, but experts say at least 1 million poor farmers were infected in the central province of Henan alone as a result of a botched blood-for-sale donor scheme.

The United Nations has said the number of AIDS victims in China could quickly rise to 10 million if serious steps to fight the epidemic are not taken.

Low quality and sometimes unpackaged condoms made up nearly three quarters of the two billion condoms used in China last year.

(China Daily October 11, 2004)

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