|Statement by H.E. Mr. LIU Qian, Vice Minister of Health of China, at the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS
In June 2001, the United Nations held the 26th special session and adopted the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. Since then, global fight against HIV/AIDS has undergone profound changes. In 2006, Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS was endorsed. We note with pleasure that these two declarations have played important roles in raising global awareness of HIV/AIDS, and in coordinating efforts to scale up HIV/AIDS prevention and control. Meanwhile, we highly commend the UN's unswerving efforts to promote global concerted action against HIV/AIDS.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to people's health and earnestly fulfills its commitment to the international community. The Chinese government places HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment high on its agenda, as a strategic issue vital to the survival of nation, social stability, economic growth and state security. Chinese President HU Jintao visited AIDS patients, medical workers and volunteers twice in hospitals and communities. Chinese Premier WEN Jiabao paid several visits to AIDS patients, people living with HIV, AIDS orphans and children infected with HIV in worst AIDS-hit villages. He talked with them, had lunch with them and took the lead to donate for AIDS orphans.
In recent years, the Chinese government has done tremendous work to combat HIV/AIDS. It established the State Council AIDS Working Committee Office(SCAWC), promulgated "Regulation on the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS", which it has been carrying out for years, and formulated "China's Action Plan for Reducing and Preventing the Spread of HIV/AIDS (2006-2010)", in which the policy of "Four Free and One Care" has been put forward. The policy consists of following aspects: 1) to provide AIDS patients with free antiretroviral treatment and either free or low-cost treatment against opportunistic infections; 2) to provide voluntary counseling and testing for free; 3) to provide AIDS-infected pregnant women with free treatment and counseling about prevention of mother-to-child transmission; 4) to provide AIDS orphans with free education; 5) to provide assistance to people living with HIV, AIDS patients and their families who are living in difficulties. In addition, we increased funding to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to about 100 million USD per year. Besides, a working mechanism on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment has taken shape featured by government's leadership, management by relevant departments and social participation. Hereby, I would like to briefly present to you China's efforts in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
First, we have broadened coverage of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. By April 2008, we had provided ARV treatment to over 45,000 adult AIDS patients and over 900 child patients nationwide, substantially reducing fatality rate and prolonging patients' lives. Thanks to scale-up of prevention of mother-to-child transmission, the infection rate through mother-to-child transmission has dropped by nearly 60%.
Second, we tap the potential of traditional Chinese medicine to treat HIV/AIDS. By March 2008, we had treated some 8,000 AIDS patients through Chinese medicine, preventing their conditions from exacerbating rapidly. As a result, more and more patients take antiretroviral therapy on a voluntary basis.
Third, we deliver sound social assistance to those affected by AIDS based on families and communities. To assist orphans, aids orphans in particular, Chinese government in 2006 formulated preferential policies covering their lives, education, medical care and other six aspects. China allocated 50 million RMB yuan in building assistance and accommodation centers for AIDS orphans, as it is searching for a mode to support AIDS orphans. All China Women's Federation and other concerned agencies have been raising fund for AIDS orphans and launching home-stay program for them to grow up healthily.
Fourth, we promote scientific studies on HIV/AIDS prevention and Treatment. The Chinese government has been earnestly supporting HIV/AIDS research. Through molecular epidemiology survey, we have grasped the epidemiological patterns of HIV infection in China. Meanwhile, we are vigorously engaged in R&D of antiretroviral drugs, research on drug-resistance, and experiments on the mode to treat and manage AIDS/TB combined infection. More and more applied research have laid theoretical basis for AIDS prevention and treatment.
Fifth, we scale up international cooperation, giving full play to the role of NGOs. The Chinese government sets store by international cooperation and exchanges against HIV/AIDS. We have launched productive bilateral cooperation with many countries, such as the UK, the US, and Australia. Besides, we have kept close partnerships with such international organizations as UNAIDS and Global Fund. In addition, numerous international NGOs, such as International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Clinton Foundation have been actively involved in China's HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. These NGOs are playing greater roles.
HIV/AIDS is the enemy of the entire human race, and to defeat it is our shared goal. In the future, China will continue with the policy of "Four Frees and One Care", and reach out to more people in publicity and educational campaign and in interventions. The hope would be: by 2010, we will reach the goal of over 85% HIV/AIDS awareness in urban areas and 75% in rural areas; the coverage of intervention into high risk group including injected drug users(IDU) will reach 90%; and 70,000 people will get antiretroviral therapy. Moreover, China will press ahead with scientific studies. In the years to come, hundreds of millions of dollars will be allocated to such key studies as R&D of vaccines and antiretroviral drugs, as well as molecular epidemiological studies. We stand ready to work with international community to search for best practices in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, fulfill the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, and to make contribution to containing HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide.