China to offer free HIV test to all
- By: James Hallinan, Bristol Nadeeja Koralage
The Chinese government is to offer all of the country's 1.3 billion people free HIV tests. The policy, dubbed the Four Frees and One Care scheme includes free antiretroviral drugs, testing, prevention of mother to child transmission, and the schooling of orphans. “One care” refers to the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS, which has yet to be defined.
Chinese vice premier Wu Yi told the Xinhua news agency that the disease had reached its turning point from high risk population infection to universal epidemic.
Until recently, HIV tests were only available to those at high risk of infection, such as sex workers and drug addicts. However, with the number of HIV cases believed to have risen by 30% last year to 840 000, 80 000 of whom have AIDS, spread from high risk groups to the wider public is likely to have been significant. These figures may prove to be