Clinics to curb spread of virus infections

Updated: 2011-12-02 07:04

By Shan Juan and Zheng Xin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The capital has set up 60 free outpatient clinics to try to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, says the city's health bureau.

"We have been striving to expand and intensify the comprehensive and unified fight that is going on against HIV/AIDS in this city," said Zhao Chunhui, deputy director of the bureau. "To detect infections early, it's important that the community clinics provide basic advice and consulting."

Since 1985, 10,071 people have been reported to have HIV/AIDS in Beijing, according to the bureau. Of them, 7,564 came from other provinces, 75.1 percent of the total, and 326 from foreign countries.

About 3,300 people who are infected with HIV/AIDS are now living in the city.

In Beijing, sexual transmission remains the main cause of the infections, according to Zhao. It is the origin of 55.5 percent of new HIV cases, while 23.1 percent of them stem from intravenous injections and 4.7 percent from blood transfusions.

Since sex has become the most common means of transmission, the campaign to curb the virus' spread has only taken on more complexity, Chen Zhu, minister of health, said on Thursday at an event jointly organized by the Chinese Association of STD and AIDS Prevention and Control and the Chinese Medical Association to mark the advent of the 24th World AIDS Day.

The health bureau also said that 61 percent of the infections that came about from unsafe sex can be traced back to homosexual sex between males.

"We're glad more volunteers and non-governmental organizations are starting to help out the infected," Zhao said.

The health bureau said help is coming to HIV carriers from more than 100,000 volunteers, as well as from various clinics and organizations.

The center for disease control in Beijing's Chaoyang district recently began offering free counseling and testing at the Beijing Jing Cheng Skin Disease Hospital to homosexual men.

"HIV/AIDS is a serious infectious disease affecting both public health and the economy," Chen said. "China remains a country where there is a low prevalence of the virus, but some regions are hit hard.

"Eliminating discrimination helps greatly with early detection and treatment among sufferers," he said.

"In particular, their (homosexual men's) right to get healthcare must be better secured."

Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, said more people's voices deserve to be heard.

"China has made progress in terms of curbing new infections, expanding testing and treatment coverage, and reducing the AIDS death rate, which can be a model for the world," he said.