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Gates Foundation Commits to Expansion of HIV Prevention in China
Date:11/13/2007

New initiative to support prevention programs targeting high-risk groups

SEATTLE, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that it will commit $50 million to work in partnership with the Chinese government and non-governmental organizations to expand HIV prevention efforts in China. The funding will increase access to HIV prevention programs targeting those most vulnerable to infection, including injection drug users, sex workers, and men who have sex with men.

"By rapidly expanding access to effective HIV prevention, China has an opportunity to prevent a widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. "China's leaders say they are serious about fighting AIDS, and we're pleased to partner with them on these efforts."

Although China's national HIV prevalence is low - less than 0.1% of the total population - infection rates are high among key risk groups. For example, HIV prevalence among injection drug users exceeds 50% in some provinces, and in the past two years there have been substantial increases in HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men.

"To effectively fight HIV/AIDS, we must ensure that prevention programs reach those most likely to become infected and transmit the virus to others," said Dr. Wu Zunyou, director of China's National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention. "At the same time, we must combat the terrible stigma that still surrounds the disease in our country."

Stigma and discrimination against people with HIV remain major problems in China. For example, a 2005 study by researchers in Yunnan province found that nearly a third of doctors said they would refuse to treat an HIV-positive person.

The new Gates Foundation funding will support both government and non- governmental programs focused on the following:

-- Prevention services for high-risk groups: Expanding effective HIV


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SOURCE The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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