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The World Health Organization issued a call to action to China Monday over HIV/AIDS as government figures said nearly half a million people are living with the disease or its precursor, with hundreds of thousands more thought to be undiagnosed.
Bernhard Schwartlaender, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, wrote in an op-ed in the state-run China Daily newspaper that "there is much more China needs to do" to prevent infection and better help those living with HIV.
"Perhaps most importantly, we must eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV, and at-risk populations such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, and injecting drug users," Schwartlaender wrote.
"I’ve seen some of my own colleagues in the medical profession turn patients away because they disapproved of the person’s sexual orientation. That is simply unacceptable, and it has to stop," he added.
The op-ed was published on World AIDS Day, a day after the National Health and Family Planning Commission said that by the end of October, a total of 497,000 people in China had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS since the country’s first case in 1985.
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