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Health Ministry Announces 51 AIDS Pilot Zones

China's Health Ministry Monday announced a list of 51 county-level regions, which served as pilot zones for AIDS prevention and treatment.


The 51 pilot zones, set up by the Health Ministry in 2003, had relatively heavier AIDS problems among China's 2000 plus counties. The ministry intended to work out an effective AIDS preventative and treatment mechanism through pilot programs.


The ministry's spokesman said the programs and measures being carried out in the pilot zones included distributing free anti-retroviral drugs, reduction of high risk behavior, prevention of maternal transmission of HIV, assistance and care to AIDS patients as well as voluntary counseling and testing.


The 51 pilot zones are located in 11 provinces, mainly of central China, among which six are in Hubei Province, six in Hunan, five in Anhui, five in Hebei, two in Shaanxi, four in Shanxi, four in Shandong, nine in Henan, five in Guizhou, four in Liaoning, and one in Heilongjiang.


The spokesman said the ministry hopes that its efforts would enable 70 percent of the population in the pilot zones to learn about AIDS and ensure 95 percent of the HIV carriers, AIDS patients and their spouses use condoms.


The ministry also hoped that over 90 percent of the HIV carriers and AIDS patients in the pilot zones could enjoy regular treatment, care and health services and 90 percent of AIDS patients could have assistance and care, the spokesman said.


"Some of our measures have taken effect and produced good results, but more efforts need to be taken," the spokesman said.


According to the Health Ministry, China now has an estimated 840,000 people infected with HIV, of which 80,000 were AIDS patients. Since 2001, the incidence AIDS in China has mounted.


The spokesman said the ministry has asked local health authorities of the 51 pilot zones to further improve patients' lives, protect their legal rights and prevent the further spreading of AIDS.


(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2004)


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