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Wen says 'we care' to AIDS sufferers

12-02-2010 09:35 BJT Special Report:World AIDS Day |

BEIJING - Between 500,000 and 900,000 children under 15 years of age on the Chinese mainland have been affected by HIV/AIDS, expert estimations have revealed.

They mainly include children who are infected with HIV themselves, those who have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and those living with parents who are suffering from the disease.

Although government policies such as free medication have provided support to nearly 90 percent of these children, "those missing out are still living in great difficulties and support for child sufferers should be improved", said Yin Yin Nwe, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative for China.

In response, the government will improve the provision of medication for child sufferers, an official surnamed Jiao with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told China Daily on Wednesday, World AIDS Day.

To date, China has reported more than 6,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers aged below 15, and about 3,000 of them are already full-blown AIDS patients who need antiviral medications, statistics from the Ministry of Health revealed.

Nearly 1,600 of these patients are on antiretroviral therapy designed especially for children, Jiao said.

According to experts, the country can only produce antiretroviral drugs for adults and relies entirely on international donations of AIDS drugs for children.

To secure sustainable drug supplies for these patients, the government plans to select competent domestic drug companies to begin producing the medicine, or it will buy it from abroad, Jiao said.

"Of course, the government would pay for that," he added.

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