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Sino-British AIDS Project a Success in SW China

A Sino-British AIDS prevention project has concluded its six-year mission in southwest China's Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, promoting the use of condoms among female sex workers and reducing the sharing of syringes by drug users.

A meeting held by the Ministry of Health and British Embassy in China on Thursday revealed that the project distributed 4.2 million condoms and 1.28 million disposable syringes, and collected 1.14 million used needles.

A total of 129,000 high-risk and vulnerable groups in 83 counties of the two provinces were targeted by the project -- the China-UK HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project -- including people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA), injection drug users (IDU), women sex workers, men having sex with men (MSM) and people who visit prostitutes.

Launched in June 2000 with an investment of 18.8 million pounds, the project helped Yunnan and Sichuan set up 57 volunteer teams in communities and provided care and support to 4,531 people infected with HIV and AIDS. Volunteers raised the AIDS awareness of 46,702 women sex workers.

The project has been a success and reached its targets, according to experts from the China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new round of the project will soon be launched in seven Chinese provinces, with 30 million pounds provided by Britain, according to the meeting.

China has approximately 650,000 people living with HIV, including 75,000 AIDS patients, according to official estimates.

(Xinhua News Agency October 27, 2006)

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