HIV/AIDS Crisis in China

Even accepting Chinese estimates of 1 million persons with HIV/AIDS, and an annual growth rate of about 25 percent, China will have nearly 6 million HIV/AIDS cases by 2010, easily placing it among the most heavily infected countries in the world in just the next five to eight years. U.S.-China cooperation in combating HIV/AIDS stands out as a positive area for bilateral cooperation and would make a significant contribution to stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS, but much more work needs to be done in both countries to realize this goal.

Since publishing "The Coming AIDS Crisis in China " (New York Times, July 16, 2001), former Freeman Chair holder Bates Gill helped lead nongovernmental efforts in Washington to inform the policy community of this looming health care challenge, and its implications for China, its neighbors, and for U.S.-China relations.

The project benefits enormously from its close working relations with the HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Institutes of Health, partners within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chinese Ministry of Health and CDC, and the HIV/AIDS Task Force at CSIS. Project activities include:

  • Exchanges with the Chinese Ministry of Health and Chinese CDC: Following on the visit of Chinese Minister of Health Zhang Wenkang to CSIS (his only nongovernmental visit during his trip to Washington in June 2002), the project organized two senior-level U.S. delegation visits to China at the Minister's request, in 2003 and 2004. Continued exchanges and policy discussions are expected in 2006.
  • Research and publications: The project has helped generate high-profile attention to the issue through publications in the New York Times and Foreign Affairs, as well as through congressional testimony: China's HIV/AIDS Crisis: Implications for Human Rights, Rule of Law, and U.S.-China Relations, Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The project's reports include Defusing China's Time Bomb: Sustaining the Momentum of China's HIV/AIDS Response and Assessing HIV/AIDS Initiatives in China: Persistent Challenges and Promising Ways Forward.
  • Presentations and consultations: The project also offers briefings and advice to medical, scientific, government, corporate, and philanthropic organizations, including the Kaiser Family Foundation, the World Medical Association, and the Coca-Cola Company.

Even accepting Chinese estimates of 1 million persons with HIV/AIDS, and an annual growth rate of about 25%, China will have nearly 6 million HIV/AIDS cases by 2010, easily placing it among the most heavily-infected countries in the world in just the next 5 to 8 years. …. U.S.-China cooperation in combating HIV/AIDS stands out as a positive area for bilateral relations...—Remarks by Bates Gill before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China,
September 9, 2002