The First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan, and her counterparts from other Group of 20 (G20) countries have taken part in an event at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou to raise awareness of HIV among students. The Red Ribbon Health Ambassador's Campus Tour campaign event took place on the sidelines of the 2016 G20 summit, where leaders of the world's foremost economies have gathered for their annual meeting.
The first ladies, China's Minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, Li Bin, and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé also participated in the event. They met students and made a symbolic gesture of placing red ribbons on a banner.
"This meeting is another expression of China's strong commitment towards ending AIDS by 2030," said Ms Li.
Mr Sidibé expressed his appreciation for China's efforts following the event. "We will not end the AIDS epidemic unless we stop new HIV infections among young people. China's HIV campaign in universities is a great start," he said.
The Red Ribbon Health Ambassador's Campus Tour campaign was launched in November 2014 to improve knowledge of HIV prevention and to promote a healthy lifestyle among students. Nearly 20 colleges and universities and 10 medical schools have participated in the campaign, reaching around 400 000 students.
Young people are at higher risk of HIV. In 2015, globally there were 3.9 million young people aged 15 to 24 living with HIV and there were 670 000 new HIV infections among this age group. To reach the global commitment of ending AIDS by 2030, countries have pledged to ensure that, by 2020, 90% of young people have the skills, knowledge and capacity to protect themselves from HIV and have access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Mr Sidibé is on a week-long mission to China and participated in the G20 summit, which focused on promoting stable economic growth. He also met with international business leaders at the B20 summit, which looked at how the business community could contribute to sustainable and balanced growth in the global economy.
While in China, Mr Sidibé also discussed the financing challenges for the global HIV response with Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.