December 6, 2011
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe is praising China's success in tackling HIV/AIDS and suggesting that other countries could benefit from its experiences.
UNAIDS data show China has seen a 60 percent drop in AIDS-related deaths during the past eight years. Meanwhile, new HIV cases in China declined from 70,000 annually in 2005 to around 48,000 in 2011, the health ministry reports.
"We have seen progress in terms of new infections," said Sidibe. "The number of people going into treatment is increasing, and the mortality rate is going down very quickly in China."
"However, China's success will not only be measured by what it has done for the Chinese people," Sidibe said. The political leadership and commitment to AIDS control shown by the government is a lesson for the developing world, particularly Africa, he said. A partnership between China and Africa could make a "big, big difference," in terms of introducing new technology and perspectives, he noted.
The global economic downturn makes working together and sharing responsibilities all the more important, Sidibe said. "It is a critical moment now. It is not a time to stop investment but to redouble our efforts, to make sure that we will continue to make progress in the fight against HIV," he added.
Sidibe was in China on Nov. 30, meeting with the president of Xinhua. UNAIDS and the news agency have launched a global media campaign to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. "The partnership [with Xinhua] is not only about writing news about HIV. It is about helping people to change their attitude and make decisions to help protect themselves," Sidibe said.