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New regulation shows greater resolve in AIDS control
www.chinaview.cn 2006-02-12 19:34:20

    Related: China issues AIDS control statute

    BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese government on Sunday made public the newly-issued regulation on HIV/AIDS prevention and control, pledging to exert more efforts to eventually win the fight against the deadly disease.

    The Regulation on AIDS Prevention and Control, issued by the State Council, or the central government, on Jan. 18, is due to take effect from March 1.

    "I am pleased to see the final report, which constitutes a crucial part of the country's overall anti-AIDS strategy," said Joel Rehnstrom, country coordinator of UNAIDS China office, in an interview with Xinhua.

    "This indicates a good progress, showing the strong commitment of the Chinese leadership," he said.

    The issue of AIDS is not only an issue of public health but also an issue of society, which is related to numerous factors like anti-drug combat and behaviors of special groups, noted an official in charge of the Legislative Affairs Office under the State Council.

    Therefore, the State Council launches a separate regulation on prevention and control of AIDS, he said, who asked not to be identified.

    China on Jan. 25 announced its new estimated AIDS figures jointly worked out by the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The report said China currently has 650,000 HIV/AIDS cases including 75,000 AIDS patients.

    Although the estimated 650,000 were nearly 200,000 less than that of 2003, experts have warned the situation is not actually improving.

    "Governments take the main responsibilities in the prevention and control of AIDS," said the Chinese official.

    According to the regulation, governments above the county level must lead the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, including setting up coordinating mechanism, specifying responsibilities and giving supervision to the relevant departments.

    The prevention and control also requires extensive cooperation from all walks of life, especially grassroots units and citizen groups, the official acknowledged.

    Local governments need to work more in pooling all resources in the region into the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, according to Wiwat Rojanapithayakorn, HIV/AIDS team leader of WHO China office.

    Besides specifying duties of governments, the regulation also lists rights and obligations of the people living with HIV/AIDS and AIDS patients.

    "Protection of their rights and balance the rights with obligations are a key concern in making the regulation," the Chinese official told Xinhua.

    According to the regulation, any working unit or individual cannot discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS, AIDS patients and their relatives. Their rights of marriage, employment, medical care and education are protected by law.

    For instance, no organization or individual can disclose the names, addresses and working places of people living with HIV/AIDS,AIDS patients and their relatives without permission.

    Voluntary testing needs to be ensured in the control of HIV/AIDS, said Rehnstrom.

    Meanwhile, people living with HIV/AIDS and AIDS patients should fulfill a few obligations, according to the regulation, including informing their sexual partners and doctors and taking necessary measures to prevent from infecting others.

    "The infected people who deliberately spread the disease will be accused in line with civil or criminal laws," said the Chinese official.

    However, given full access to education, treatment and a sound living environment, most patients will not intentionally spread the disease, said Rehnstrom, adding that "they just want to live as normal members of society." Enditem

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