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Praise for migrant worker anti-HIV campaign

0 CommentsPrintE-mail, August 4, 2009
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A waiter looks at materials on HIV prevention. [Li Shen/]

A waiter looks at materials on HIV prevention. [Li Shen/]

The Yunnan employment agency has integrated HIV prevention and health-service referrals into its on-going activities, and has designated a special classroom for daily AIDS-awareness training sessions that reached 20,000 job seekers in 2008.

An awards ceremony held on Monday evening recognized the contribution of individuals and program partners from local government, large-scale domestic and international companies, the China Enterprise Confederation and the All China Federation of Trade Unions. Among those honored were leading film director, Gu Changwei, and program spokesman, actor Wang Baoqiang. They screened their short filmNever Abandon and Never Give up, which promotes anti-stigmatization, condom use, and other HIV-prevention messages.

Following the awards ceremony, a two-day workshop is being held to share key lessons and help the government develop a plan to sustain key elements of the program in the future. According to Constance Thomas, Director of the International Labour Office for China and Mongolia, "it is essential that we work with the government to ensure that migrant workers continue to receive life saving prevention and care programs."

Some 700,000 people are living with HIV in China, according to the Ministry of Health. Most are aged between 15 and 49 and are in their most productive years of employment. Over half of them contracted the virus through sexual activities.

"The significance of this program is that the government is placing great emphasis on protecting rural migrant workers -- the ordinary people, neither the drug users nor the sex workers, from HIV infection. It is shifting from so-called high-risk populations to the general public," said Michael Hermann, China Representative of Humana People to People, a community-based NGO in Yunnan Province and a partner of the program.

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