BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China's Cabinet, the State Council, has ordered greater efforts to contain the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and improve medical services for HIV carriers and AIDS patients.
Public awareness of HIV/AIDS control should be stepped up and more should be done to detect carriers and to reduce the chances of HIV spreading between mothers and babies, and between other groups, the State Council said.
The State Council also asked for tighter measures to ensure blood safety during medical practices, according to a circular posted Wednesday on the official website of China's central government, www.gov.cn.
Authorities should consider increasing the supply of affordable anti-HIV drugs to those in need under the medical insurance scheme and do more to ease the drug cost burden of HIV/AIDS patients, the circular said.
The Cabinet also stressed efforts to improve care for HIV carriers and AIDS patients and protect their rights, particularly in health care services, employment and schooling.
The State Council called for more research efforts as well as international cooperation to develop new medicines and technologies to target HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Unprotected sex has become the main transmission channel of HIV in China, where recent years had seen an increase among men who have sex with men, making the fight against HIV/AIDS tougher, said the circular.
UNAIDS estimated that 740,000 Chinese, compared with 1.3 billion in total population, were living with HIV by the end of 2009. Among them, 105,000 were estimated to be AIDS cases.
By the end of August 2010, the cumulative total of reported HIV positives was 361,599, including 127,203 AIDS cases and 65,104 recorded deaths.