Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made a trip to the Beijing You’an Hospital and met with HIV and AIDS patients along with volunteers and medical staff at the hospital on Friday, just ahead of World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1 (today) every year.
The You’An Hospital is one of the earliest in China to offer services for HIV and AIDS patients, and the medical center is known for its contributions to clinical treatment, drug development, medical training and publicity, according to ECNS.
When talking with AIDS patients, experts and representatives of international organizations at You’an Hospital, the Premier said that the government should shoulder the major responsibility of fighting AIDS. Li said that the government’s investment into fighting AIDS cannot be reduced.
[…]The Premier said AIDS patients and their families need more respect and care. Societal attitudes toward AIDS patients reflects the level of a society’s civilization and progress. The old attitudes of fear surrounding the topic of AIDS must be abandoned and AIDS patients need more care.
Chinese politicians have, in recent years, made publicized visits such as this on several occasions, showing a growing recognition of China’s HIV/AIDS issues among leadership. Li, who has met up with victims before, was widely blamed for taking a role in the cover-up of a blood transfusion scandal in the 1990s that led to around 300,000 people being infected with the virus.
Sexual contact now accounts for almost 90 percent of the country’s new HIV infections—a drastic increase from the 1985-2005 era, when sexual contact accounted for only 12 percent of infections. The high rate is blamed in part on the lack of proper sex education across China.
A total of 1,700 students were reported as HIV-positive in 2012, 64.8 percent of which cases were attributable to homosexual contact
Last year, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG China) wrote to China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, calling on her to further legislation against gay discrimination and to draw awareness to issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.