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Substantial Funds Allocated for Free AIDS Treatment
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China has allocated substantial funds to provide free HIV/AIDS treatment for patients in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in an attempt to combat the deadly disease, according to the Ministry of Health.

The country has spent nearly 288 million yuan (US$36 million) on free anti-AIDS treatment in the last three years, accounting for 14.3 percent of the total anti-AIDS outlay.

Statistics show that the country spent 151.25 million yuan (US$18.9 million) buying anti-AIDS medicines in 2005, up 267.1 percent and 58.9 percent compared with 2003 and 2004 respectively.

An official with the ministry revealed that, despite the lower prices for anti-AIDS medicine, the central government is spending much more on treatments.

Provided for 25,000 patients, China's free AIDS treatments cover 623 counties in 31 provinces while special child treatment is carried out on 516 patients below the age of 15 in 14 provinces.

He said the country currently employs five homemade and two imported anti-AIDS medicines, which more or less meet requirements.

The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently made available to China international funding worth 123.2 million U.S. dollars.

The country currently has 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, including 75,000 people with clinical AIDS, according to the 2005 Update on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and Response in China.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2006)

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