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China to Promote AIDS Awareness

China's State Council has set up a delegation on Wednesday to tour the country to promote AIDS awareness among local government officials.

Ninety percent of local officials above county level will listen to speeches from the delegation from July to the end of 2007, said Wang Longde, head of the working committee of AIDS prevention and control under the State Council.

The epidemic situation of HIV/AIDS has been deteriorating in recent years and has had a negative impact on the economy in the worst-affected areas. Meanwhile, it is spreading from high-risk groups to the general public, said Wang at the first meeting of the delegation.

However, some local cadres are still blind to the harm of the epidemic and are not prepared for a long-term struggle, he told the meeting which was attended by more than 100,000 local officials via a tele-conference network.

Local officials ought to know about the policies and guidelines of the central government in AIDS control as well, he added.

China currently has about 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, including 75,000 AIDS patients, according to official estimates.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2006)

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