HIV/AIDS is finally top of the Chinese government's agenda. This year it has pledged free anti-HIV drugs and US$60 million towards AIDS prevention and control — a tripling of 2002's budget.
In this article Jon Cohen charts the changing approach to management of the disease. Efforts have intensified following China's poor handling of the SARS epidemic and revelations that thousands of poor people became infected with HIV having sold blood to companies that used unhygienic procedures.
Critically, China's epidemic is still at an early stage. But outside assessments warn of a potential disaster. And increasing heroin abuse, a thriving sex industry, 100 million migrant workers and poor awareness of disease risks in rural areas all point to major challenges ahead.
Reference: Science 304, 1430 (2004)