Vice Premier: China faces "severe task" in preventing and treating AIDS

09:41, July 12, 2011      

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Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R) shakes hands with Michel Sidibe, executive director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in Beijing, capital of China, July 11, 2011. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

Despite the progress that the Chinese government has made in containing the spread of AIDS, China still faces a "severe task" in preventing and treating the disease, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday.

Li made the remarks during a meeting with Michel Sidibe, the executive director of the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Li said that social organizations, including those formed by AIDS patients themselves, should play a bigger role in fighting the spread of the disease.

"We will continue to increase government funding for AIDS prevention and treatment, as well as the development of new medicines, " Li told Sidibe.

China now has 276 AIDS prevention and treatment programs, which it jointly operates with more than 40 foreign governments and international organizations.

Li said the Chinese government will work to safeguard the legitimate rights of AIDS carriers and their families, as well as make efforts to eliminate the social stigmas that surround them.

Li also pledged China's commitment to stronger international cooperation in fighting the disease, as well as increased involvement in programs initiated by international organizations like UNAIDS.

Sidibe, who is also the under-secretary-general of the United Nations, praised China's efforts in AIDS prevention and treatment and called for stronger cooperation between the United Nations and China in combating the spread of the disease.

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