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WHO applauds China’s progress on HIV/AIDS control

Updated: Dec 2,2014 8:34 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The World Health Organization (WHO) China Office on Dec 1 issued an announcement praising China’s progress on HIV and AIDS control.

“Progressive and rapid actions in China have helped lessen the infection rate of HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS,” said Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in China.

“The HIV epidemic in China was driven initially by injecting drug use. China’s response was to set up a massive national network of needle exchanges and methadone centers,” Schwartlander said. “There are now 763 clinics across the country. China is a world leader in this. The result is a remarkable reduction of HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs.”

“I am heartened by the incredible progress China has made since the first outbreaks of AIDS. Compared to my early days, China is now much better placed to prevent HIV infection, and doing better at caring for those living with HIV,” Schwartlander said. “Yet as we recognize World AIDS Day, I know there is much more China needs to do.”

HIV transmission rates in the children of HIV-positive mothers have also decreased significantly in China. The number of sites providing services to HIV-positive pregnant women has tripled from around 500 in 2009 to more than 1,500 today — drastically reducing the rate of HIV infection among children born to HIV-positive mothers, from 35 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in 2012.

“The goal is clear: ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. There are still challenges in China and every other country in the world. However, we have the tools, and with China’s track record in innovation and pragmatism, I have no doubt that we can achieve this goal,” Dr. Schwartlander concluded.