Chinese official, professor honored by UN for anti-AIDS work 2007-07-17 22:55:10   Print

    BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has honored Chinese Vice Minister of Health Wang Longde and Qingdao University Professor Zhang Beichuan for their outstanding contribution to fighting AIDS.

    "I'm honored to present awards to two pioneers, who have been at the forefront of the AIDS response in the country and who have encouraged others to follow," said UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot.

    Responsible for anti-AIDS work since 2004, Wang has been instrumental in making AIDS a priority for the Chinese government. He has placed particular emphasis on ensuring a multi-sector approach to AIDS and encouraging a range of organizations to join the effort.

    Zhang has undertaken ground-breaking work in raising HIV awareness among homosexual men, breaking down the stigma and discrimination against people at high risk of HIV infection and developing focused HIV prevention programs.

    China had 183,733 officially reported HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, but experts from the ministry estimated there were more likely 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China.

    Statistics show that, compared with 2003, the death rate of China's AIDS patients has dropped 50 percent.

    "I am confident that China can continue scaling up its response to AIDS, focusing programs to reach the people that need them most," said Piot. "We look forward to supporting China in its response to AIDS and working together with China in expanding the global response to AIDS."

    Wang said the ministry would publish the result of the country's latest survey on AIDS epidemiology in the year end.

    The award was part of a week-long visit to China by Piot to learn more about the country's anti-AIDS work.

Editor: Yan Liang
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