World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS
Editor's Note 

The first known case of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was reported in 1981 in the United States, marking the start of the most severe epidemic in modern times. Over the past 30 years there have been breakthroughs and progress. But AIDS is still an unsolved issue that needs our awareness, tolerance and compassion.

World AIDS Day on December 1 every year is an opportunity to bring together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2011 is "Getting to Zero" by striving for zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Here we countdown to this milestone with our special coverage to help raise awareness about AIDS in China as the world marks 30 years of HIV/AIDS.

HIV in China 

"The epidemic is still on the rise in China . . . but at a slower rate than previous years."
Wu Zunyou, director of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control and Prevention, said on Nov 23, 2011.

Timeline: China's efforts to curb HIV/AIDS

China will further expand testing and intervention efforts, including education and drug coverage, said the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) for HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

2011: China is set to substantially expand HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services in the next five years to strive for early detection and treatment for sufferers, vowed Vice-Premier Li Keqiang.

2010: China lifts a decade-old restriction that banned foreigners with HIV/AIDS from entering the country.

The State Council establishes its AIDS working committee.

2003: Premier Wen Jiabao visits AIDS patients in a Beijing hospital and becomes the first premier of China to publicly shake hands with AIDS patients in a bid to eliminate social discrimination.

China initiates its Four Free and One Care policy: free antiretroviral drugs, free prevention of mother-to-child transmission, free voluntary counseling and testing, free schooling for children orphaned by AIDS, and care to people living with HIV/AIDS.

1998: The National Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control is established. HIV is found for the first time in all 31 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

1997: Reporting of HIV/AIDS cases is initiated and an epidemic database established.

1995: An HIV sentinel surveillance system is established nationally. All blood and plasma collection stations are shut down.

1985: The first HIV case is detected and the first AIDS death is recorded.


World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS

About 780,000 people will be living with HIV/AIDS on the mainland by the end of this year, 40,000 more than 2009, according to an estimate issued jointly by the Ministry of Health and UNAIDS.

The estimated number of new infections this year stands at 48,000 and28,000 deaths. Nearly 82 percent of infections resulted from sex, including more than 29 percent through homosexual acts. 

China's infection rate overall is 0.06 percent. The WHO defines high prevalence as 1 percent or more.

Gay and bisexual men account for around one in every three new cases of HIV in China, according to the latest official statistics released by the Ministry of Health.(Gay men hit hard by HIV/AIDS)

Of the cases reported so far this year, roughly 20 percent were in people 50 and older, up 10 percentage points from 2007. (80-year-old found with HIV by 'unprotected sex')

Infections among students aged 20 to 24 also increased, with 56 percent contracting the virus via gay sex.  (HIV/AIDS cases soar on college campuses)

         Click to read
more about progress made in China's HIV/AIDS campaign

World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS


AIDS-hit village receives support

Lixin, in East China's Anhui province, is not only a State-designated poor county, but also an area that has been battling HIV/AIDS.

Since the first case was reported in Lixin in 1995, there have been 1,249 people living with HIV/AIDS, as of November 2011, an increase of 28 from 2010. The death toll is 244, with 14 deaths this year. Photos from Lixin's Zhangbanqiao village and Liuran village show how life goes on under the government's support. [

Related reading:
Growing up with AIDS
World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS

The NGO leader: Support our work

Thomas Cai was given the United Nations' high-profile Red Ribbon Award in 2006, and Premier Wen Jiabao met him in 2009 to recognize Cai's contributions to China's HIV/AIDS campaign.

The patient: spreading the hope

He is considered to be China's longest living AIDS patient. He was diagnosed in 1995. Meng Lin is not the real name of this thin, gay man in his early 40s, who stands at medium height and wears his hair very short.

The advocate: 'People' deserving rights

Zhang Beichuan is passionate about his work to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS, even though many people think he's mentally disturbed because he meets with gay men and prostitutes every day.


World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS


World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS

If designs and vibrant colors encourage condom use, then people will be better protected against disease. This display was part of an AIDS-awareness exhibition in Shanghai.   A college student volunteers for the HIV/AIDS prevention campaign by wearing the HIV/AIDS prevention symbol made of thousands of red ribbons and spreading pamphlets in Shenyang, Liaoning proinve, on Nov 26, 2011.  

World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS


World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS

A volunteer, right, and an HIV patient form a heart with a red ribbon at a hospital in Hangyang, Central China's Hunan province, Nov 29, 2011.   A volunteer, dressed in clothes made of more than 2,000 condoms, campaigns for safe sex to prevent AIDS in Tianjin, North China, on Nov 26, 2011.  
HIV/AIDS Discrimination
People in cities are familiar with the disease, and the government has made great efforts to prevent its spread. And many people know the disease cannot be contracted easily - and that the chance of contracting it is almost zero if we take necessary preventive measures.

World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS

While discrimination against HIV carriers and AIDS patients still widely exists in China, the problem is even more prominent when it comes to medical treatment. [More].

HIV/AIDS sufferers rejected by hospitals/HIV victim's family fights for burns aid )

HIV carriers are also likely to face employment discrimination. (HIV-positive man fights in court for job)

  Positive news for abandoned 'AIDS' baby

Little two-year-old Xiaomei beams with happiness as she plays with a teacher at a children's institute. But life for Xiaomei, which means little beauty, has not always been so lovely. At just 15 days old she was abandoned by her parents who falsely belived their baby girl was HIV positive. 
World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS
It's right to work

Tianxiagong has organized a petition calling for equal rights for HIV-positive job seekers after helping a patient take a discrimination case to court in 2010.

A Tianxiagong spokesperson commented this was one of the country's biggest campaigns calling for equal working rights for HIV patients. [More]

World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS


Untraditional ways to fight against HIV/AIDS 

Buddhism plays role in AIDS fight

"Chen Fen", a 43-year-old woman who has been fighting HIV for 16 years, projects an image of energy and vitality,  despite being weakened by her affliction. The source of her strength isn't a new pill or medication, but an ancient religious belief.

Songs to fight against AIDS

Residents in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, an area renowned for its musical folklore, are turning to song to make the public more aware of ways to prevent the spread of AIDS.

The outlook
Good news from China Good news around the globe
Scientists get step closer to HIV vaccine

Chinese scientists have succeeded in the first phase of a clinical trial of an HIV vaccine and will launch the second stage in a few months. 
Pills prevent HIV in straight men and women

Two new studies found that daily pills prevented infection with the AIDS virus in heterosexual men and women in Africa, bringing new hope for someday offering a medical shield against HIV infection.
TCM enriches AIDS treatments

Chinese medicine practitioners are trying to use the country's 2,000-year-old traditional medicine to treat AIDS in the hope of finding a way to help conquer the incurable epidemic that just entered its fourth decade.
Stem-cell transplant cured HIV patient

Australian experts said they have been "blown away" by the case of a man cured of HIV, yet they caution his treatment was too risky to be offered broadly to the world's HIV-infected population.
HIV Facts   World AIDS Day
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function. As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes weaker, and the person becomes more susceptible to infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; antiretroviral drugs can slow down the process even further.

HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
  World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of"Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS related deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now.



World AIDS Day: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS 

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