BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao encouraged HIV/AIDS sufferers to live on with hope and confidence during his visit to a Beijing hospital on the World AIDS Day, which falls on Tuesday.
At the Beijing Home of Red Ribbon in Ditan Hospital, Wen and Vice Premier Li Keqiang visited two AIDS patients and medical volunteers, experts.
Since China reported its first AIDS case in 1985, the world's most populous nation had recorded 319,877 HIV/AIDS cases and 49,845 deaths by October, according to the Ministry of Health.
Yet, the statistics only include cases reported by medical facilities. The ministry and the UNAIDS estimate that China will have 560,000 to 920,000 living HIV carriers, with 97,000 to 112,000 AIDS patients by the end of 2009.
Over the past six consecutive years, Premier Wen inspected HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment work every year and even invited orphans whose parents died of AIDS to tour Zhongnanhai, a compound of buildings for the central authorities in the heart of Beijing.
At the Beijing Home of Red Ribbon on Tuesday, Wen put on a red ribbon, the awareness symbol for the fight against AIDS, and shook hands with two HIV carriers, who are also instructors there.
Wen said that attention should be paid to AIDS prevention not only on the World AIDS Day, but also in daily life and work.
Lao Zhao, an HIV sufferer, told Premier Wen that he was diagnosed HIV positive in 2003 and has received medical treatment thanks to the country's policy of "four frees, one care".
Since the end of 2003, the Chinese government has carried out the policy "four frees, one care" including free blood tests for those with HIV, free education for orphans of AIDS patients and free consultation, screening tests and antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women.
Premier Wen told Lao Zhao that the AIDS patients should keep an optimistic mood, self-confidence and persist in taking the anti-AIDS medicine and therapy.
Wen also encouraged Lao Zhao and other AIDS patients to provide psychological counseling for their ward mates and exchange their therapy experience for mutual encouragement.
"The efforts of the volunteers and the fellow patients will reduce psychological pressure of HIV/AIDS sufferers and help them establish self-confidence so as to live on with optimistic attitude and fight against the disease," Wen said.
The government's "four frees, one care" policy is meant to arouse attention to the AIDS patients and instead of discriminating against them, create an atmosphere that cares about AIDS patients, Wen said.
The Premier also encouraged the volunteers working at the Beijing Home of Red Ribbon to provide more help to the AIDS patients with heart and soul.
In meeting with medical staff and HIV researchers, Premier Wen said that the AIDS is a serious health issue as well as a social issue that the world is facing.
Wen pointed out five measures to prevent and control the disease.
First, beefing up the prevention knowledge spread among the people and improve medical treatment service.
Second, strengthening AIDS/HIV epidemic monitoring work to accurately learn about the situation..
Third, further implementing the "four frees, one care" policy to ensure all HIV carriers and AIDS patients are cared for and respected.
Fourth, enlarging the coverage of social interference concerning the disease.
Fifth, beefing up research work to improve prevention and treatment capabilities.
Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged mobilizing the whole society to improve AIDS/HIV control, when speaking to a gathering of AIDS prevention volunteers on Monday, a day before the 22nd World AIDS Day.