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China Launches Campaign to Spread AIDS Prevention Knowledge

China has launched an AIDS awareness campaign targeting rural laborers working in cities in Beijing on Thursday, the 18th World AIDS Day.

"Although China has made progress in the prevention and treatment of AIDS, the epidemic still does not allow for the slightest bit of optimism," Chinese vice premier Wu Yi said at the kickoff of the campaign which is called "Controlling AIDS: Honoring our Commitment".

Wu said prevention and treatment of AIDS remains a very arduous task, which makes it necessary to mobilize resources of a wider range for the efforts, adding that a "widespread and far reaching publicity campaign" should have a significant impact.

By the end of September, China had 135,630 reported cases of HIV infection.

Wu called on AIDS prevention agencies to inform the public of the causes of AIDS, methods of prevention and help rural workers develop healthy lifestyles while dispelling unnecessary panic.

She ordered various levels of government and agencies to organize a variety of cultural and entertainment activities to enrich the lives of rural laborers working in cities.

"Draw them to healthy and meaningful activities. Keep them away from AIDS," said Wu.

China has 120 million rural laborers working in urban areas and a lot more are expected to flow into cities and towns in the coming years. A large number of them are sexually active but have a poor understanding of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Addressing the campaign launch ceremony on behalf of UN organizations in China, the World Health Organization's representative to China Henk Bekedam affirmed China's effective measures to contain the spread of AIDS, calling the publicity campaign a landmark that will play an important role in protecting the health and lives of rural workers in cities.

More than 1,500 people attended the ceremony, organized by a work committee under the State Council for the prevention and treatment of AIDS and several other organizations.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2005)

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