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AIDS Patients Receiving TCM treatment

There are currently more than 5,800 AIDS patients receiving traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment in China, said the country's top TCM official on Tuesday.

She Jing, director of the State Administration of TCM, said 3,500 AIDS patients in China are undergoing TCM treatment through government-funded trial programs in 11 provinces and another 2,305 are provided with such treatment in 15 health institutions in 19 provinces.

"It's been proved that TCM can treat some infectious diseases caused by the AIDS virus and improve patients' ability to tolerate the pain brought on by Western drugs," said She.

According to the Ministry of Health, China has an accumulated number of 135,630 HIV infections and 31,143 AIDS patients. But a joint appraisal released in Dec., 2003 said that the country's HIV carriers had exceeded 840,000 and 80,000 people have full-blown AIDS.

 "Drug Cocktails" are by far the most effective AIDS treatment in the world and a forth line of drugs have been developed. However, most Chinese patients can only afford first line or second line drugs which are less effective but much cheaper.

She said her administration plans to extend TCM treatment programs to 14 provinces in 2006, and it will continue to assess the effectiveness of TCM treatment on China's HIV carriers and AIDS patients.

(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2006)

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