China observes World AIDS Day with new measures

Updated 2017-12-01 16:31:56 Xinhua

Chinese authorities have taken a variety of HIV/AIDS measures, as World AIDS Day is observed Friday.

The number of people in China tested for HIV/AIDS every year has nearly quadrupled over the past decade, but it remains a challenge to reach the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status, according to Wu Zunyou, Chief Epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).

In Beijing, authorities have launched a hotline to provide consulting services for HIV/AIDS patients.

Beijing Home of Red Ribbon, a non-governmental organization, launched the hotline on Wednesday to provide a series of services, including basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS, evaluation of unsafe sex, and psychological counseling.

Zhao Hongxin, an HIV/AIDS expert with Beijing Ditan Hospital, took the first call on the hotline, answering questions about unsafe sex and antiretroviral drugs.

"We must give HIV/AIDS patients enough care and support, mainly medical aid, to solve their problems," said Wang Kerong, Beijing Home of Red Ribbon office director.

In Shanghai, the number of patients that contracted HIV from Jan. 1 to Nov. 20 stands at 2,106, a year-on-year increase of 7.5 percent, according to the municipal health and family planning commission. Male patients account for 91.1 percent, the commission said.

The Shanghai government recently issued a plan to control and prevent the spread of the disease and create an environment with no discrimination.

All district medical centers in Shanghai have set up areas for consulting about HIV/AIDS, as well as equipment for quick testing.

In the northwestern province of Gansu, authorities have resorted to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for HIV/AIDS treatment.

Liu Baolu, a doctor with the Tianshui TCM Hospital in the city of Tianshui in Gansu Province, is committed to treating HIV/AIDS patients with TCM. From 2010 to 2015, he was hired as a specialist at the provincial disease control and prevention center.

"I treated more than 10 HIV positive patients with TCM, and their CD4 T cells have basically returned to normal levels," Liu said.

Gansu is a major TCM area. In 2008, Tianshui was listed as a pilot area for TCM treatment of HIV/AIDS patients, by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"TCM treatment only costs around 2,000 yuan (302 U.S dollars) each year, and the side effects are limited," Liu said.

China's proactive fight against the AIDS epidemic has yielded results. Blood transmission of the virus, once rampant through illegal blood sales or sharing of needles among drug users, has been halted, with mother-to-child transmission almost eliminated.

China has about 718,270 people living with HIV/AIDS, according to official data. As of the end of June, 221,628 people had died of AIDS-related diseases in China.

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