The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) confirmed that in September of 2018, the first ladies from both China and Africa have committed to advocate and prevent HIV/AIDS among adolescents, creating a joint initiative that emphasizes a three-year health promotion and HIV-prevention advocacy program.
Coming Together to Address HIV/AIDS Prevention in China and Africa
For the past few decades, China has been providing aid to Africa by making a financial commitment and working together to decrease the growing poverty epidemic. China has committed approximately $75 billion in aid and development to Africa during the past decade, providing and implementing projects regarding health, education and culture. The Guardian further reveals that China finances malaria prevention centers and provides a National School for Visual Arts in African countries.
While aid and partnership continue to be implemented, China and Africa have seen the need to address the growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS. In 2014, 501,000 people in China were living with HIV; despite funding efforts, the Chinese CDC reported roughly 96,000 new cases in the first nine months of 2016. About 14.7 percent of those infected in 2015 were adolescents.
In 2017, approximately 19.6 million people in Eastern and Southern Africa were living with HIV; 6.1 million in Western and Central Africa; and 220,000 in Middle East and North Africa. Both China and Africa are willing to come together and fight against HIV/AIDS, particularly in younger generations.
In September of 2018, a China-Africa advocacy campaign began in Beijing, China with the goal to increase adolescents’ access to HIV/AIDS services as well as to reinforce their engagement when responding to HIV/AIDS. Of the 36.9 million people infected and living with HIV around the world in 2017, 1.8 million were less than 15 years old; China and Africa hope to decrease such rates and provide a much brighter future.
During the meeting, 36 first ladies discussed what specifically puts adolescents at risk. Risk factors include stigma, discrimination and lack of access to health services. The meeting also recognized the need to make an impact toward younger generations, because preventing further cases in HIV/AIDS requires an increased amount of investment. These investments need to be amplified in both sexual education and innovative HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
Both the Executive Director of UNAIDS and the Director-General of the World Health Organization attended the meeting, showing their support as they assist the first ladies from China and Africa in addressing and discussing the issues and solutions. At the end of the meeting and event, the first ladies stated their goal of ending HIV/AIDS by the year 2030 and asked governments in China and Africa to ensure treatment, care and support of HIV services for infected adolescents.
Other Sources of Help
In addition to these HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in China and Africa, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is working with the Chinese government and other organizations to provide more care and treatment to those infected. In 2014, the foundation began the second phase of their program to retrieve more participants in the treatment and care of HIV/AIDS through community organizations. This program benefits the Chinese government by increasing operations in supporting organizations, as well as supporting the construction of a social environment and preventing further discrimination toward those living with HIV.
HIV/AIDS prevention in China and Africa will lead to better and healthier countries and bring hope to those living with the disease or at risk. The desire to create a difference in younger people is a definitive start in HIV/AIDS prevention. Governments and organizations will continue to address this issue to create a brighter future for the health of their people.