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China leaders in campaign against HIV-AIDS stigma

1 December 2012

Two of China’s top leaders have called for new measures to improve the lives of those living with HIV-AIDS. Xi Jinping, who is expected to be the next president, shook hands with several patients in Beijing – ahead of World Aids Day. 48 hours earlier, his likely deputy Li Keqiang, promised to let NGOs play a bigger role in fighting the epidemic. China reported nearly 69,000 new cases of HIV in 2012 and has around half a million people living with the virus. Experts say its not just public education that needs to be enhanced, sufferers are often refused medical treatment. The stigma is so entrenched that as many as half of infected patients are not properly treated. The infection rate among gay men has increased sharply in the last few years.