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UNAIDS chief hails China's progress in AIDS fight

Updated: 2016-07-28 20:08

UNAIDS chief hails China's progress in AIDS fight

An HIV positive patient, not pictured, receives a blood pressure test in Weishi county, Central China's Henan province in this Nov 30, 2015 file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - A senior United Nations (UN) official on Thursday acknowledged China's encouraging progress in combating HIV/AIDS, saying new successes have been achieved in the country.

China has made "a lot of progress," said Michel Sidibe, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), citing the reduced rate of HIV-related deaths and the increasing number of people on treatment.

"Since 2014, we have not had any babies born with HIV in Beijing, which is very important," Sidibe told reporters during a visit to Xinhua News Agency.

He highlighted the importance of China's nationwide program on mother-to-child transmission to control the epidemic among children.

"The only challenge that we are still having is how to reach men having sex with men, how to reach sex workers, and how to make sure infections among those groups can be controlled," Sidibe said.

The UN official also applauded China's contribution to the work of UNAIDS.

"China, particularly the government, has been very helpful, supporting us to negotiate a new political declaration, which is key for the future," he said.

Key Chinese leaders have been fully committed to fighting stigma and discrimination, often with new policies that can be really helpful, Sidibe added.

During the visit, Sidibe presented the UNAIDS Leaders and Innovators Award to Cai Mingzhao, president of Xinhua, in recognition of Cai's personal contribution to the vision of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 through exemplary leadership or a novel approach.

The award granted to Cai also recognizes the commitment of the Chinese government to combating HIV/AIDS, Sidibe said while addressing the award ceremony.

There have been encouraging results in the fight against AIDS globally, with the number of people receiving treatment increasing from 1 million or less in 2000 to 17 million today, Sidibe said, highlighting the media's contribution.

"All of that (progress) would never have happened without you, without our collective efforts, without solidarity ...We can't reach people without innovation, without news, without information, without a new way to communicate," he said.

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