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Experts: Chronic disease, a critical issue in China


10:04, September 20, 2012

Chronic disease has become a major social issue in China and control and prevention measures are urgently needed, according to experts at a public health summit in Beijing on Tuesday.

Chronic diseases, communicable or non-communicable, are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Heart disease, strokes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes are major causes of death, and account for 63 percent of all deaths worldwide, according to Jason Hsia from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the prevention and control of chronic diseases in China is still in its infancy, said Wang Longde, president of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association. He urged Chinese public health sectors to learn from foreign organizations through exchange activities.

Focusing on communicable chronic diseases, it is impossible to ignore the AIDS virus. Wu Zunyou, director of the Venereal Disease and HIV/AIDS Division at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pointed out that Yunnan, Guangxi and Henan are provinces with the highest HIV infection rates in China. Research suggests that the virus is spread through sexual intercourse, as opposed to drug related activities. In 2011, 84 million Chinese people were tested, and 74,517 among them were found to be HIV positive.

In recent years, AIDS prevention and control in China has made great progress. From 2002 to 2011, the AIDS mortality rate in China dropped by 64 percent. But "our pace is slower than the spread of HIV," Wu added, saying "we have to view tests as intervention and treatment as prevention for China's new AIDS strategy."

According to China's Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) endorsed by China's legislature, the National People's Congress, by 2015 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS must be lower than 1,200,000, with new HIV infections down by 25 percent and the AIDS mortality rate down by 30 percent.

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