BEIJING – Yunnan province in southwestern China is planning to offer free HIV and AIDS treatment to some of its foreign residents, the official People’s Daily reported on Monday.
According to the Daily, the provincial government is studying a review of regulations on HIV control and prevention, so that some foreigners who have contracted the virus or have developed AIDS can get free treatment.
The measure would benefit those foreigners who have lived a considerable period of time in Yunnan and who intend to continue living in China, such as those who have established families with Chinese citizens, according to chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wu Zunyou.
“The amendment is still under review by authorities. Once in effect, it will help both foreigners and Chinese against the epidemic,” he said.
Many HIV-positive foreigners in China live along the borders with Myanmar and Vietnam and the number has been increasing to due border exchanges, health authorities said.
Wu said that as many HIV-positive foreigners in Yunnan have already set up families with Chinese, the regulation will also protect local citizens.
Chinese authorities increased voluntary HIV testing at the border and out of the more than 128,000 tests carried out between January and October this year, 1,034 foreigners tested positive, according to the provincial health department.
According to the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, last year there were 2,514 foreigners living with HIV in China, the Daily reported.
The National Health Commission estimated that nine out of every 10,000 Chinese citizens in the country have HIV.
The Commission said they all have free access to anti-retroviral therapy.