BEIJING, Nov.30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to mobilize the whole society to improve AIDS/HIV control, when taking part in a gathering of AIDS prevention volunteers here Monday, a day before the 22nd World AIDS Day.
It was the fourth time in six years that Hu met medical staff, researchers, AIDS patients and volunteers ahead the day.
These high-profile moves showcased the government's resolve to tackle the growing AIDS problems in the country and help remove the social stigma against HIV-positive people.
On Monday morning, Hu visited the China National Convention Center, where Beijing volunteers launched a weekly AIDS prevention campaign since Nov. 29, to improve the awareness at schools, communities and construction sites.
Pinned a crimson ribbon on his chest, Hu watched volunteers simulating the AIDS peer education programs at the function, logged on the AIDS control website named Beijing Red Ribbon and joined them to make red ribbon pins.
Beijing now has more than 50,000 volunteers engaged in AIDS prevention and control work.
Hu appreciated their valuable work.
"China still faces a severe AIDS problem and we should mobilize the forces of all social sectors to tackle the problem persistently," he said.
At the function, many young people are registering themselves as volunteers.
"I am very proud of being a volunteer in AIDS prevention programs. As a medical student, I am willing to contribute my share to the cause," Liu Dantong, a postgraduate student of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, told the President at the function.
Hu admired her devotion for the cause.
"We must see that there are still tough tasks to prevent and control the spread of AIDS and volunteers have lots of work to do," Hu said.
He called for them to help more AIDS patients and the HIV-positive, especially working to reduce discrimination against them.
Through a video phone at the function, the President talked with doctors and patients at the Ditan Hospital in Beijing, known for AIDS treatment and counseling, which Hu visited last year.
Hu was told that the hospital has initiated 21 research programs concerning AIDS treatment and prevention after the President's visit and the number of volunteers working for the hospital has topped 20,000.
He also learnt that more people came to have HIV tests voluntarily.
Hu also talked to an AIDS patient surnamed Zheng, who he met during last year's visit. Last year, Hu donated 5,000 yuan (735 U.S. dollars) to her after learning she had just given birth to a healthy girl.
Zheng chatted with Hu over the phone, cuddling her 18-month-olddaughter.
Hu said he was glad to see both the mother and daughter were ina sound condition and wished her a happy life.
China's first AIDS case was reported in 1985. By the end of October, the country has registered 319,877 AIDS patients and HIV-positive people and reported 49,845 deaths.