AIDS in China
The number of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHs) in the mainland, since the appearance of the first confirmed case in 1985, has been on the rise. According to "A Joint Assessment of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care in China (2007)" published by the Ministry of Health and UNAIDS in 2006, the number of HIV infection in China as at the end of 2007 was estimated to be 700,000 and the total number of reported HIV and AIDS cases as at the end of October 2007 was projected to be more than 220,000. The report also warned of a spread of the infection from key populations at higher risk to the general public and a tendency for the number of infections to go up, making the task of prevention a more urgent one.
Since 2003, the Chinese government has been making a positive response to the epidemic. Apart from long-term plans and policies, the government has been allocating more resources for work on prevention and opening its door for help from outside non-governmental organisations or bodies. For example, applications were made from the Global Fund for projects on HIV and AIDS. In December 2003, the government started to implement the ‘Four Free One Care’ policy, which offers PLWHs with financial difficulties free medication as well as counselling and HIV testing. At the same time, the policy provides medical treatment and testing for infected pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission and free education for children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. While a huge amount of resources has already been put into the fight against the epidemic by local and overseas organisations, the battle is still a fierce one and requires our continued support.
* The above information has been extracted from the report "A Joint Assessment of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care in China (2007)", jointly prepared by State Council AIDS Working Committee Office and UN Theme Group on AIDS in China.
Hong Kong AIDS Foundation and its launch of the China Project
Since its establishment in 1991, Hong Kong AIDS Foundation has been working hard to help curb the spread of HIV. All along, the Foundation has been implementing education on prevention of HIV for the purpose of raising public awareness and understanding of the infection. The problem of AIDS is a global one, affecting, with no exception, each and every place. As a result, there is a need for us to work with others at the regional and international levels, sharing our experiences and facing together the challenges posed by the epidemic. To this end, the Foundation has been taking active participation in different international conferences and working groups, with a view to strengthening exchange and collaboration between Hong Kong and other places.
In 1996, the Foundation, leveraging on its Hong Kong experiences, started to launch the China Project and help the mainland accelerate its response to HIV and AIDS.
Rationale behind and objectives of the China Project
To facilitate exchange and contact and strengthen information sharing between mainland organisations working on AIDS and their counterparts in Hong Kong and at the international level.
- To share with mainland colleagues the experiences of Hong Kong in its fight against HIV and AIDS;
- To help the mainland build up a team of professional AIDS workers; and