Reducing HIV Risks Along China's Northeast Border

July 12, 2006 | Print | Email Email | Comments | Category: News

Reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS among mobile populations and cross border communities was one of the issues highlighted during the Conference on East Asian Regional Cooperation in the Fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The regional conference held in Beijing was jointly organized by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Friends of the Global Fund-Japan, and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Edmund Settle, HIV/AIDS Programme Manager for UNDP in China, said, "The vulnerability of China's mobile population to HIV infection is emphasized by legal and social constraints they encounter as they travel and work outside their home towns. Furthermore, the economic and social hardships that originally push both male and female workers to migrate only enhance their vulnerability to HIV."

An integral part of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Regional Empowerment and Action to Contain HIV/AIDS (REACH) Beyond Borders initiative, UNDP in China has been addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS and mobility in the region through a project entitled "Safe Mobility and HIV/AIDS Prevention in Northeast China."

Jointly launched in September 2005 by UNDP and the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), the initiative has been conducted along China's northeast border in Aihui District of Heihe Prefecture in Heilongjiang, Yanji City of Yanbian Prefecture in Jilin, and Kuandian City of Dandong Prefecture in Liaoning.

During a project site visit conducted recently, Guan Changfu, Vice Mayor of Heihe, said, "This project provided us with a good opportunity to create an integrated and multi sector model among the government, media, education, community and public to continuously keep low prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the mobile population and Heihe city residents."

Ru Xiaomei of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said that the project has become a platform for the beneficiaries to strengthen the capacity of the local authorities at all levels to confidently respond to the AIDS in their communities. "I would say that this project is a process of win-win or even multi-win," she said.

Over the last decade, China has experienced a dramatic increase in both domestic and cross-border population mobility. This mobile population, including its migrant work force tends to be among the most vulnerable members of society. While the economic circumstances of migrant workers is well documented, there is little understanding or support of their social identities and basic needs.

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