Experts hail China's achievements in fighting AIDS
Updated: 2012-07-25 13:19
WASHINGTON - China has made great achievements in fighting HIV/AIDS in recent years, said experts at the International AIDS Conference.
"I think China is making impressive progress," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told Xinhua. "Just a few years ago, China has threatening blood contamination. Today they have a completely one of the safest blood reservoir in China."
Sidibe said the number of new infections has been reducing in China and more and more people have access to therapy, particularly among the more susceptible population.
"I'm very optimistic about China's response. I can say that China is assuring that also," Sidibe said. "They are able to double the number of people in need of treatment just last year. So for me, that's important."
"More than 100 million people were tested last year for the HIV. It's a big progress," he continued.
According to a UNAIDS report released ahead of the six-day conference, which kicked off on Sunday, China is now one of the top five contributors to research, with $18.3 million invested in research on HIV vaccines in 2011.
Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the Chinese government had some problems early on particularly with blood contamination, but "they've gone beyond that now".
"I think they still need some improvements in that there are situations in China where people with highest risk, commercial sex workers, injections drug users, men who have sex with men," Fauci told Xinhua. "You have to eliminate stigma as well as the political and legal obstacles to get into those individuals. They are starting to do that now. I think that's going to the right direction."
Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the HIV/AIDS Department of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that in China, he had seen a very impressive scale-up of anti-retroviral therapy for HIV infections over the last couple of years.
He said that China has also introduced a progressive approach to treating HIV-positive partners in couples where one partner is HIV infected and the other not, regardless of his or her own immune status.
Both examples underlined China's resolve and commitment, and gave orientation to many other countries, added Hirnschall.
"I think with the political will and leadership and resources, China is putting the hand of response. The policy forward is on the right way," Hirnschall told Xinhua.
Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University, told Xinhua that China is scaling up its health system now, which he found very important and positive.
"I also see China's playing a major global role in public health. Already the world's main anti-malaria medicine came from China, I think Chinese scientists can make more breakthroughs." said Sachs.
"I'm very excited about China's role in the future in providing science and leadership to fight this epidemic disease (that is AIDS)," he said.