China set to double annual spending on HIV / AIDS.
China will spend more than 1.5 billion yuan (US$185 million) annually on prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in 2006-07, more than twice the amount allocated for 2005, China's official news agency, Xinhua, reports. However, officials at the HIV/AIDS division of the Chinese Ministry of Health contacted by TLID declined to comment on the accuracy of the report. "The increase in central government funding for AIDS in 2006 and 2007--if confirmed--is an expression of the determination of the Chinese government to bring HIV/AIDS under control", says Joel Rehnstrom, head of UNAIDS in China. "It would be another sign that the central government is taking HIV/AIDS control efforts seriously", he said. HIV/AIDS experts in China warn that political commitment--and a realisation of the threat that AIDS poses--is uneven at provincial and lower levels. As a result, funding from local budgets for HIV/AIDS control remains inadequate in all but the most affluent eastern parts of the country (eg, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangdong) and the most affected provinces and autonomous regions (eg, Yunnan, Guangxi, Xinjiang, and Henan). (excerpt)