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UNICEF Hails China's AIDS Prevention Efforts

The China representative of the UN children's organisation UNICEF Dr. Yin Yin Nwe has commended the Chinese government on its AIDS prevention efforts, but has called for more public involvement in fighting the disease.

Nwe said the Chinese government was deeply committed to tackling AIDS problems. "On my first day at work last December, I met with Premier Wen Jiabao, and he said to me that the Chinese government is resolute in achieving progress in the fight against the epidemic," she said.

Nwe made the comment while attending an event held Friday in Beijing, at which Cartier donated three million yuan (about US$388,000) to UNICEF for HIV/AIDS prevention and care in China.

She said UNICEF has close partnerships with the Chinese government. "We meet very frequently with the ministries, the Chinese National Committee for the Care of Children (CNCCC) and the local governments," she said.

Nwe said AIDS was not previously a big problem in China but it had been growing in importance in recent years. China had 183,733 officially reported HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, but experts from the Ministry of Health estimate there are more likely to be 650,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China.

"Through drug and sex workers, the disease is getting from high-risk groups into the population. Unless people are aware, there is no way to stop the epidemic," she warned.

"The government cannot do everything at every level and the public need to take action and be involved," Nwe said.

"We need to help and educate the public, like you, me, my son, his friends, who are not normally regarded as risk groups, that everyone is at risk from AIDS," she said.

"China is a large country with a huge number of young people, who are tempted to try drugs and sex. It's not enough to tell them don't do drugs,' we need to tell them why," she said.

"Only after people are aware and informed can we decrease discrimination against HIV carriers and better prevent further spread of the deadly disease," she added.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2007)

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