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UK Backs China's Anti-AIDS Fight

The British Government recently announced that it would donate 30 million pounds (US$56.5 million) to support China's battle against HIV and AIDS.

International Development Minister Gareth Thomas said the money would be used in China's national HIV and AIDS programme over the next four-and-a-half years.

The funding will be aimed at vulnerable groups such as sex workers, injecting drug users, women and children in 112 counties across the country.

It will also be used to promote the use of condoms, the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and voluntary counselling and testing.

China currently has an estimated 650,000 HIV/AIDS patients. It has set the goal of keeping the number of its HIV/AIDS patients below 1.5 million by 2010.

Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is close to reaching a landmark agreement to start an AIDS initiative in China, a spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday.

The foundation, headed by Gates, the world's richest man, and his wife, is in final-stage talks to sign a memorandum of understanding that would provide help to China as it tackles the spread of HIV.

A final funding decision for China has not been made. 

(China Daily August 21, 2006)

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