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December 1, 2009

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AIDS battle will persist, Hu says

PRESIDENT Hu Jintao pledged to mobilize the country to improve AIDS/HIV control while taking part in a gathering of volunteers dedicating to preventing the disease in Beijing yesterday, a day before the 22nd World AIDS Day.

It was the fourth time in six years that Hu met medical staff, researchers, AIDS patients and volunteers ahead of the day.

His appearances at such events showcased the government's resolve to tackle the growing AIDS problems in the country and help remove the social stigma against HIV-positive people.

Yesterday morning Hu visited China National Convention Center, where Beijing volunteers launched a weekly AIDS prevention campaign on November 29 to improve awareness at schools, communities and construction sites.

Pinned with a crimson ribbon on his chest, Hu watched volunteers simulate AIDS peer education programs at the function, logged onto the AIDS control Website named Beijing Red Ribbon and joined them to make red ribbon pins.

Beijing now has more than 50,000 volunteers engaged in AIDS prevention and control work.

Hu said he appreciated their work.

"China still faces a severe AIDS problem and we should mobilize the forces of all social sectors to tackle the problem," he said.

At the function, many young people registered as volunteers.

"I am very proud of being a volunteer in AIDS prevention programs. As a medical student, I am willing to contribute my share to the cause," Liu Dantong, a postgraduate student of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, told Hu at the function.

Hu said he admired her devotion.

"There are still tough tasks to prevent and control the spread of AIDS and volunteers have lots of work to do," Hu said.

He called for them to help more AIDS patients and the HIV-positive, especially by working to reduce discrimination against them.

Through a video phone, Hu also spoke with doctors and patients at Beijing's Ditan Hospital, which is known for AIDS treatment.


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