BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Yin Zuluan, 49, is a rural doctor in southwest China's Yunnan Province, one of the main battlefields of HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the country. She likened herself to a screw in community-level HIV/AIDS prevention work.
With more than 20 years of serving the community with public health service and HIV/AIDS prevention work, she has grown from an ordinary village doctor to an HIV/AIDS prevention expert.
"Through years of publicity, the villagers' awareness of AIDS and self-protection as well as the social environment has been significantly improved," said Yin.
According to the Yunnan provincial health Commission, by the end of 2021, the province had 13,588 village clinics and 31,797 village doctors and health workers engaged in AIDS prevention and treatment, AIDS knowledge publicity and education, and the service of mobilizing villagers, especially migrant workers, for HIV testing. By October 2022, Yunnan had 7,757 HIV testing sites and confirmation laboratories, covering all townships and 4,874 villages and communities.
Strides have been made not only in Yunnan.
"Over the past decade, China's HIV/AIDS prevention and control service system and capacity have been further improved," said Feng Zijian, executive vice president and secretary general of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association.
The number of HIV testing laboratories has increased from 17,000 to 49,000, confirmation laboratories from more than 300 to more than 700, and designated institutions for antiviral treatment have increased from more than 3,400 to more than 6,000, Feng added.
HIV/AIDS has been kept at a low epidemic level, and the treatment coverage rate and success rate of infected people have both exceeded 90 percent.
HIV/AIDS can cause serious damage to health, and the related case fatality rate is high.
In 2021, approximately 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, and around 1.5 million people were newly infected with HIV, according to a report issued by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
However, there is no cure for AIDS currently, nor effective vaccines that can prevent HIV infections, and therefore people with AIDS rely on lifelong medication.
Li Taisheng, an expert with the Peking Union Medical College Hospital, said research results have indicated that China should emphasize more on related testing and early treatment.
China now boasts a package of comprehensive testing services, including HIV voluntary counseling and testing, which can be received at centers for disease control and prevention at all levels, as well as some general medical institutions, institutions for maternity and child care, community health centers, and township-level health centers.
Lu Yanhong, an AIDS prevention expert with the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said that prompt consultation and testing in hospitals after high-risk behaviors, such as unsafe sexual activities, are necessary, as well as taking post-exposure prophylactic under the guidance of doctors.
The post-exposure prophylactic is more effective when it is taken within 24 hours of exposure, and no later than 72 hours, according to Lu.
"We will continue our efforts to address global challenges in the field of HIV/AIDS, such as functional cures, complications caused by chronic inflammation, and barriers to immune reestablishment," said Li Taisheng.