China making good progress on tackling AIDS: UN

July 19, 2007 - 0:0

BEIJING (AFP) -- China is making good progress in tackling its growing AIDS problem, but deep-seated social stigmas continue to hamper the effort, the top United Nations official on the disease said Tuesday.

Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, praised China's government for adopting a more open attitude towards the disease and devoting more resources to the battle. ""(In the past), there was no receptivity. But today there is a lot going on. Systems are being put into place. It's really different,"" Piot said. ""AIDS is definitely discussible now at various levels."" He spoke during a news conference following a visit to Henan province, China's HIV-AIDS epicenter where thousands were infected during the 1990s by tainted blood transfusions. Piot's comments echoed a recent paper published in the prestigious British medical journal the Lancet which praised new needle-exchange and methadone initiatives for drug users, routine HIV testing of at-risk groups and free drugs for many infected