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HIV/AIDS Patients in Yunnan Get Free TCM Treatment
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Southwest China's Yunnan Province, which has a large number of people living with the HIV/AIDS, plans to provide free treatment to more HIV/AIDS victims this year with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Addressing a provincial health meeting that ended on Friday, Yang Hongsheng, deputy chief of Yunnan Provincial Bureau of Health, said the province would build more infrastructure, bringing the number of TCM AIDS treatment centers to seven.

He did not disclose the size of the investment.

"We hope more than 1,500 HIV/AIDS victims will be able to get free medical treatment at TCM centers this year," said the official.

Yunnan, bordering Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar in the south and west and near the notorious "Golden Triangle", has China's worst HIV/AIDS figures. HIV/AIDS cases have been found in all of the province's 129 counties, according to the provincial health bureau.

The province had 48,591 people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2006, accounting for 26 percent of the nation's total. A total of 1,768 people have died from the disease in the province.

Yunnan began using TCM to treat HIV/AIDS sufferers free of charge in June 2005. Altogether a total of 1,308 people had enjoyed free treatment at the six TCM centers by late last year.

Reports from the centers said those who have sought treatment have seen their clinical symptoms weaken, and have partially recovered their ability to work, according to Yang.

China is at a key stage in its fight against AIDS/HIV. A report from the International Labor Organization estimates that China could lose five million laborers by 2015 if it fails to take effective measures to counter the scourge.

China reported 183,733 HIV/AIDS cases at the end of October 2006.

(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2007)

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