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MSF Offers Free AIDS Treatment

The office of Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) French Section in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said on Monday they had provided free medical aid to 260 AIDS patients and HIV carriers in China since late 2003.

Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than 80 countries.

Max-Antoine Grolleron, MSF French Section's representative in China, said MSF French Section began its medical aid to China in 1996 with a medical service program in Rongshui County of Guangxi.

In compliance with a two-year agreement signed among MSF French Section, the regional health bureau and the regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2003, an outpatient service has been established to provide free medical care to AIDS patients and HIV carriers from Nanning, the regional capital, and five other adjacent counties.

According to Mr. Grolleron, patients receive health checkups, tests, medical treatment such as anti-retroviral therapy (ART) at the outpatient service. So far, 160 of the patients have received anti-retroviral therapy (ART) at the outpatient service. 
And the medical cost with the outpatient service last year totaled 6 million yuan (US$722,892) which was fully borne by MSF, said Huang Xiaoying, an interpreter with the Nanning office of MSF French section.

MSF has also been advancing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of AIDS or HIV virus in cooperation with local hospitals in Nanning City. Women infected by AIDS or HIV virus may choose to take anti-retroviral medicine in their 28 weeks or 36 weeks of pregnancy.

Up to now, six infected women have given births by cesarean section, with the eldest infant being three months old. "Whether or not the babies are infected with AIDS or HIV virus will have to wait till these infants are one and a half years of age, but we will keep a close watch on them," said Stefano Manfredi, an Italian doctor with MSF.

(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2005)

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