amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

China and U.S. Scale Up Collaboration on HIV/AIDS


March 2003—The moment is ripe for enlarging U.S.-Chinese partnerships to avert a full-blown HIV/AIDS epidemic in China," concludes a report on a recent high-level delegation to China organized by the Washington D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) at the invitation of the Chinese Minister of Health Dr. Zhang Wenkang. The delegation was jointly led by Dr. Louis Sullivan, Co-Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and former U.S. Secretary of Health, and J. Stapleton Roy, Managing Director of Kissinger Associates and former U.S. Ambassador to China.


Radwin and Dr. Wenkang 
amfAR CEO Jerome J. Radwin and Chinese Minister of Health Dr. Zhang Wenkang. 

The report, prepared by J. Stephen Morrison and Bates Gill of CSIS, outlines the delegation's findings from four days of information sharing and discussions on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and research strategies with Chinese government officials, physicians, scientists, and representatives of Beijing-based nongovernmental and community organizations. "The Chinese approach to HIV/AIDS is moving in the right direction," says CSIS, commending the "serious effort" of the Chinese Ministry of Health to combat the epidemic. It also underscores the "far greater openness in the Chinese media and elsewhere to public discussion of HIV/AIDS, by comparison with just a year or two ago."

Stark Challenges
The report goes on to detail the "stark challenges to effective action against HIV/AIDS in China," such as lack of comprehensive surveillance and lack of health care capacity. It states that "only some 50 to 100 Chinese doctors understand how to diagnose and treat HIV infection and the onset of AIDS." The report also cites bureaucratic and political obstacles, as well as societal prejudice and lack of awareness, education, and prevention. Among a raft of recommendations, it urges a sustained leadership dialogue at the cabinet level, a doubling of U.S. technical support to China in fiscal year 2004, and expanded donor support for Chinese HIV/AIDS programs.

amfAR CEO Jerome Radwin and Vice President of Clinical Research and Prevention Programs Kevin Robert Frost participated in the delegation, whose Honorary Chairman was U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). Other delegates included Helene Gayle, Director of HIV/AIDS and TB at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Harold Jaffe, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, STD and TB Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Andy Olson, Legislative Counsel for Senator Frist.

amfAR Hosts Chinese MOH Delegation
On 24 February, amfAR hosted a delegation from China led by Vice Minister of Health Dr. Ma Xiao-wei at its New York City offices. Dr. Ma and his colleagues summarized the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in China and the steps that the Chinese government is taking to combat the epidemic. In turn, they learned about the work of amfAR, its Global Initiatives program, and the goals, objectives, and progress of TREAT Asia.

Delegates included Dr. Qi Xiaoqiu, Director General of the Department of Disease Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health, and Dr. Zhao Tonggang, Director General of the Department of Health Legislation and Supervision. amfAR and the Ministry of Health agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines areas of common interest and possible cooperation in advancing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment initiatives in China.