AIDS Healthcare Foundation Announces New AIDS Treatment & Training Partnership In Xinjiang Province, China

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AHFAIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest AIDS healthcare, prevention and education provider in the United States which operates free AIDS treatment clinics in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, has joined together in a groundbreaking new HIV/AIDS treatment and training initiative with China's Xinjiang Medical University (XMU) and the Xinjiang Medical University--Affiliated Hospital in Xinjiang Province, China.

The partnership will create a "Center of Excellence" -- a model for high-quality antiretroviral therapy (ART), medical training and a clinical preceptorship program in healthcare and medical management of HIV disease including the use of ART for persons living with HIV/AIDS -- at the Xinjiang Medical University--Affiliated Hospital in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Province. The collaboration, which will be known as the "AHF -- Xinjiang Medical University--Affiliated Hospital HIV/AIDS Treatment and Training Initiative", was recently formalized in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between AHF and the respected Chinese medical institutions, and was celebrated in China in a formal dedication ceremony on December 26, 2006.

"It is an honor and a privilege for AIDS Healthcare Foundation to embark on this lifesaving AIDS treatment and training partnership with our colleagues at the renowned Xinjiang Medical University," said Dr. Chinkholal Thangsing, Asia Pacific Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who had worked closely with Chinese health and government officials to develop the program and finalize this agreement. "We look forward to working closely together to help build and strengthen the capacity and skills of the medical community's ability to deliver high-quality HIV/AIDS treatment and management in Xinjiang Province."

Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It accounts for more than one sixth of China's total territory, and a quarter of its boundary length. Urumqi, the capital city of the province, used to be on the northern route of the well-traveled 'Silk Road.' Xinjiang has about one-tenth of China's AIDS burden and the highest HIV infection rate in the country with an officially estimated 60,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.

"It's a great opportunity to sign this collaborative project with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a renowned international AIDS organization. Through this collaboration with AHF and other leading foreign experts, and the exchange of invaluable experience, we expect to provide state of the art medical care and services for HIV/AIDS patients in Xinjiang," said Professor Mohammed Yasen, President of Xinjiang Medical University. "It is my sincere expectation that under the aegis of AHF, a high quality AIDS treatment and research center can be established in the Xinjiang Medical University-- Affiliated Hospital in the future. This collaboration will also project and promote the University to greater recognition and attract other institutions willing to partner and share their resources to better AIDS treatment in the months and years to come."

"As we mark this milestone and dedicate this new program in Xinjiang, we look forward to assisting our partners in scaling up the delivery of quality HIV care and treatment -- including the provision of free ARVs -- which are being generously provided by the Provincial CDC," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "We also recognize the laudable efforts undertaken by our partners and the Government of the People's Republic of China to treat its people living with AIDS and to arrest and eliminate the HIV/AIDS epidemic in China, and we consider it a privilege to be able to work together with them in the fight against AIDS in China."

"I am delighted at this news of this agreement and strongly believe this collaborative project between XMU and AIDS Healthcare Foundation will build, strengthen and greatly improve the capability of our doctors to treat and manage HIV/AIDS," said Dr. Zhang, Professor and Director of the Infectious Diseases Department of Xinjiang Medical University--Affiliated Hospital. "I hope that this collaboration will also create linkages not only with international HIV/AIDS experts, but within the provincial CDC, and help us to build up the capacity of county level doctors as well."

"As a provider of HIV/AIDS hospice and medical care in the United States for nearly twenty years, and as a global provider of such medical care and lifesaving antiretroviral treatment in our clinics around the world over the past five years, I believe that AIDS Healthcare Foundation is well-positioned to guide and complement these new treatment and training efforts to enhance access to ART in Xinjiang Province," said Dr. Charles Farthing, AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Chief of Medicine, who participated in several previous clinical preceptorships and provider training programs elsewhere in China for AHF. "Through this new partnership, AHF will also provide medications for the treatment and management of opportunistic infections -- infections that frequently occur in many HIV/AIDS patients -- for up to 500 people living with HIV/AIDS in the first year of the agreement, gradually increasing this number for treatment of patients with OIs to up to 2,500 individuals by year five of the agreement."

"AHF is honored to join forces with the leaders and our colleagues at Xinjiang Medical University and its Affiliated Hospital to implement and deliver appropriate and relevant medical care and support services to those living with HIV/AIDS in China," said Henry E. Chang, AHF's Chief of Global Affairs in a statement. "It is our sincere hope that this partnership serves as a model system to help control the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Xinjiang, and also as a model system to be expanded to other provinces throughout China."

HIV/AIDS in Xinjiang Province, China

With a population of about 20 million and an officially estimated 60,000 infections, Xinjiang has one-tenth of China's AIDS cases and the highest HIV infection rate in the country. According to 'China AIDS Survey,' an organization which aims to provide historical and analytical resources for relevant HIV/AIDS stakeholders, including educational and advocacy groups, government and civil society actors, and policy / media organizations, and which maintains a diverse database dedicated to the AIDS crisis in China: "Some 36 percent of all HIV cases are among China's ethnic minorities, which make up only eight percent of the population and are primarily concentrated in the border provinces of Yunnan province (southwest), Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (southwest) and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (west).

Brief Background on Xinjiang Medical University (XMU)

Xinjiang Medical University first got approval from the Ministry of Education in 1998 and was merged and formed from the former Xinjiang Medical College and former Traditional Chinese Medicine College. XMU currently has a full-time teaching faculty of 744 people, 13 colleges and departments, two teaching sections, five affiliated hospitals and three non-affiliated hospitals. XMU attaches great importance to internal and external exchanges and cooperation at home and abroad. Nationally, XMU has collaborations with over 20 domestic universities, and international universities involved in exchanges and cooperation include those such as Harvard Medical International, Bordeaux University, Comte University, Birmingham University, St. Petersburg University, Nagasaki University, Asahikawa University College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Khybers Medical College, Quad-e-Azam Medical College, Ayub Medical College and Frontier Medical College of Pakistan.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Global programs

In addition to its work in the US, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, under its AHF Global division, operates free AIDS treatment clinics in Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia in countries including: Cambodia, China, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. AHF Global also provides training programs in China, Haiti, India and Ukraine, Russian Federation and spearheads an innovative, twelve-week HIV Medics training program in Africa to train people to become treatment extenders that provide basic triage, intensive adherence support and assist in the provision of antiretroviral therapy.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation website http://www.aidshealth.org/

source Medical News Today 

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