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Syringe Exchange Program Help Control AIDS Spread

A syringe exchange program financed by Australia has started to work in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The syringe exchange program means offering clean needles to drug addicts to withdraw the needles they used in order to reduce the risks for spreading AIDS.
Syringe distribution began in four of the planned six dispensing centers built under a scheme with 9.37 million Australian dollars (US$7.38 million) provided by the Australian government, according to Huang Ling, a Chinese program coordinator.
The scheme is designed to reduce the spread and impact of AIDS virus in three Asian nations, namely China, Vietnam and Myanmar, by lowering the incidence of AIDS from mainline drug injection. The money will be used to sponsor distribution of free clean needles, condoms, brochures and training.
Guangxi region and southwestern Yunnan Province were selected as the target destinations in China. According to the agreement, 10 free needle-exchange centers will be established, of which, six will be located in Guangxi, including the four cities of Nanning, Liuzhou, Bose, Wuzhou and two counties of Lingshan and Hepu.
"Providing drug addicts with free clean needles should definitely not be taken as a sign of encouragement for them to go on drug-taking. Instead, it is a major measure for those who have been addicted to narcotics and cannot get rid of the unhealthy habit to avoid being infected with AIDS via shared needles and thus reduce hazard of AIDS being spread to family members and other members of the society," said Huang.
About 3,000 drug addicts registered in Guangxi could exchange clean needles freely from the six centers, Huang added. 

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2004)

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