An_An Inclusive Campaign

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 短文摘抄 点击:

  Just days after returning from the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Wu Zunyou, Director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, sat down with Beijing Review reporter Yan Wei. Wu, also a visiting professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California Los Angeles, spoke about China’s participation in the recently concluded conference and the experience it has gained over the past two decades.
  Beijing Review: What interested the Chinese delegation most at the conference?
  Wu Zunyou: The Chinese delegation consisted of about 200 members and was headed by Vice Minister of Health Chen Xiaohong. We had several focuses at the conference. We were interested in learning about the progress other countries have made in the past two years in basic research on HIV/AIDS and the development of an AIDS vaccine and medications. We were looking for exciting news--breakthroughs made by other countries that we can learn from.
  In 2003, the WHO [World Health Organization] and UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS] launched the “3 by 5” Initiative, planning to provide antiretroviral treatment to 3 million people living with AIDS in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2005. We wanted to take this opportunity to see how the strategy has been implemented.
  Also, at the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly, the heads of state endorsed the goal of “universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” which was reaffirmed at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS from May 31 to June 2. We wanted to find out what specific measures other countries have taken toward reaching this goal.
  In addition, we were eager to show the international community the progress China has made in AIDS prevention and control over the past years. On a technical level, Chinese scientists and other professionals engaged in AIDS prevention and control could communicate with their foreign counterparts on this occasion.
  Now, it can be said that all our aims have been fulfilled.
  Is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation close to reaching a landmark agreement to start an AIDS initiative in China?
  We started to discuss cooperation with the Gates Foundation two and a half years ago. After attending the UN General Assembly Special Session this June, Vice Minister of Health Wang Longde went to Seattle, where he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gates Foundation, setting out the principles for cooperation.
  The key area of our cooperation is AIDS prevention among high-risk groups such as drug users, prostitutes and homosexuals. The program is expected to kick off around October and will last for five years. Its budget will be worked out by September when we jointly draft the project proposal.
  During the six-day conference, what experience did you share with your counterparts at the conference?
  We explained China’s progress in preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS.
  First of all, we have conducted extensive HIV testing among high-risk groups. We have set up over 3,000 VCT [voluntary counseling and testing] sites across the country in the past three years.
  The second strategy we used is to scale up the free antiretroviral treatment program. In the past three years, we have treated 26,000 AIDS patients. Another significant change is that we provided a methadone maintenance program to drug users. Now we have 101 methadone clinics in operation, providing service to 15,000 drug users. By the end of this year, we will boost the number to 305 to serve more than 30,000 drug addicts. All China’s progress impressed the audience at the conference.
  Our strategies are in conformity with practices adopted all over the world: checking the spread of HIV/AIDS by finding and helping HIV-infected people. The practices are a collection of international wisdom including China’s own experiences in fighting infectious diseases over the past hundreds of years, especially lessons learned from the campaign against the SARS epidemic in 2003.
  What is your comment on international organizations’ influence over China’s anti-AIDS campaign?
  AIDS prevention programs are culturally sensitive. However, the principle is the same: We need to stop the virus from spreading from one person to another. To implement this principle, the measures are also simple. For example, to eliminate needle sharing, you either completely stop the use of drugs or, according to a behavioral intervention strategy, allow the drug addicts to continue to use drugs but with clean needles or use methadone as a substitute. The two approaches are complementary and are indispensable to an inclusive campaign.
  While the ideas seem simple enough, it is not easy to put them into practice. You need policy, resources and well-trained personnel. All these are country-specific.
  We welcome foreign experts specialized in AIDS prevention and control who are willing to work with us to China. No matter who handles a program, as long as it benefits the people, it is a great program. I think there are many models in China. Actually, the majority of models have been created by the Chinese and some others are introduced from foreign countries through international cooperation, such as the China-UK program.
  Foreign organizations have offered financial and technical support to China. Funds from them are used in a uniform, well-planned manner. However, because of cultural differences and differences in the ways of thinking, programs involving international cooperation may encounter some difficulties at the beginning, but they all go ahead smoothly after efficient coordination.

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