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Condoms Distributed on Long-distance Buses to Prevent AIDS Spread

Starting from Tuesday, condoms are offered for free to passengers on over 70 buses shuttling on Highway 318 between west China's Sichuan Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

As part of the HIV/AIDS prevention program between China and Britain, the free condoms mark China's new step to control the disease among the migrant population, said an official with the program.

Highway 318, a busy route linking Sichuan and Tibet, sees a large population flow every day. "It is a good place to launch HIV/AIDS prevention among the migrant population," said the official.

The program office has experimented with offering materials on HIV/AIDS prevention on the buses. Bags are put in a striking place on the long-distance buses and in the bags are materials about HIV/AIDS prevention in Chinese and Tibetan.

In the past one month, nearly 15,000 leaflets were taken by passengers and over 2,000 people read it every day.

Following some drivers' suggestions, the program office of Sichuan Province Monday decided to offer free condoms on the buses.

HIV/AIDS prevention has emerged as an issue requiring more attention among the migrant population as they move from place to place and it is hard to monitor them.

In a circular issued earlier this month, the State Council has set it as an important part of China's HIV/AIDS prevention to conduct monitoring over migrant population.

(Xinhua News  Agency  May 26, 2004)

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