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Progress Made in HIV Prevention in Yunnan Province

Southwest China's Yunnan Province has registered marked progress in HIV/AIDS prevention since it carried out six programs earlier this year to fight the deadly disease.
The programs include the promotion of condom use at hotels and public places of entertainment, free needle exchange, methadone maintenance therapy, HIV/AIDS publicity and the establishment of AIDS treatment and care centers and monitoring systems.
With an estimated investment of 520 million yuan (US$62.7 million) in the programs, the provincial government will strive to reduce the high infection rate significantly within five to 10 years.
As of September this year, the province had 17,390 HIV-positive people, and 1,118 with full-blown AIDS, according to Yunnan Health Bureau.
The bureau said intravenous drug use contributes to 68 percent of the cases, and sexual contact to 14.7 percent.
Kunming, the province's capital city, has installed 620 condom vending machines and has sold 100,000 condoms. Condoms are available at every hotel in the city.
A total of 200 people came to the AIDS treatment and care center for consultation and 55 received free medical treatment.
The provincial government also provides aid to HIV carriers and AIDS patients and offers free school education to AIDS orphans.
According to the Health Ministry, China has 840,000 HIV-positive people and 80,000 with full-blown AIDS. The intravenous drug use through infected syringes is believed to be the major wayof infection among China's HIV carriers. 
China launched 26 pilot clinics last Friday on Nov.26 to provide methadone maintenance therapy to intravenous drug users, aiming to slow the spread of AIDS among the drug users. 
The Education Ministry said Monday that China has made AIDS prevention a compulsory course of schools ranging from junior high schools to colleges from this year to combat the disease.

(Xinhua News Agency December 1, 2004)

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