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Free Treatment for HIV Carriers

A total of 63 HIV carriers in Guangdong Province will receive free medical treatment with traditional Chinese medicine from mid September.

The move was part of a five-province campaign to curb the spread of the AIDS. The campaign was launched Aug. 20 and was costing almost nine million yuan (US$1.09 million), the Southern Metropolitan News reported Wednesday.

The project was designed to provide medical aid to some 2,000 HIV carriers in Guangdong, Hebei, Anhui, Henan and Hubei provinces, areas with the country's worst AIDS outbreaks in recent years, the report said.

Guangdong had received almost one million yuan and would provide free treatment for 63 patients, said Cai Weiping, an AIDS-prevention expert at the Guangzhou No. 8 Hospital. The hospital has been selected by state authorities to use traditional Chinese medicine to treat HIV carriers.

Cai said traditional Chinese medicine had no side effects and was an ideal way to treat people who could not tolerate cocktail treatment. It was also cost-effective at less than eight yuan a day.

However, Cai admitted that the treatment was still being tested and it was too early to evaluate the curative effect.

He also said there was a shortage of funds to provide free treatment in the province, which had more than 30,000 HIV carriers.

(Shenzhen Daily September 1, 2004)

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