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Number of HIV/AIDS Patients Reach 135,630

About 135,630 confirmed HIV/AIDS carriers and patients have been reported nationwide by the end of September about 50,000 higher than the figure in the end of June last year.

"The HIV/AIDS situation in our country remains grave and the task for prevention and cure remains tough," said Vice-Premier Wu Yi yesterday, at a national audio-video conference on HIV/AIDS prevention.

But the number is only about 16.1 percent of the estimated HIV/AIDS cases in the country due to insufficient testing and monitoring measures, Wu said.

While taking drugs through injections, which accounts for 40.8 percent of HIV/AIDS infection cases, remains the main channel for spreading the virus, the ratio of infection from sexual transmission is also rising, according to Wu.

The central government will soon unveil the China HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project (2006-10) and HIV/AIDS prevention and care regulation, serving as guidelines as the country faces a host of challenges in the fight against the deadly virus.

However, implementation of the guidelines would be the biggest challenge.

Some local governments are still sluggish in the HIV/AIDS prevention work because of concerns of their "image," or a blind confidence that the virus would simply not hit their jurisdiction. Some places are even stuck on the debate of whether they should promote the use of condoms.

"It is my opinion that awareness is the biggest problem in our work on HIV/AIDS, and it has to be addressed," Wu said.

Strengthening publicity, monitoring efforts and intervention measures will be the government's focus in fighting the deadly virus, according to Wu.

The government will also mobilize non-governmental organizations and resources in HIV/AIDS prevention tasks, she added.

The government allocated 830 million yuan (US$10.2 million) in the fight on HIV/AIDS last year.

(China Daily November 28, 2005)

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