China's AIDS crisis has become a hot issue at the annual session of parliament this week, with delegates urging stricter laws to curb the spread of the disease.
China is one of the three countries most at risk from AIDS outside Africa and health agencies say it could have 10 million victims by 2010 if it fails to take the scourge seriously.
"It is time for China to make laws on the control and prevention of AIDS, otherwise the country will lose the best opportunity to bring the deadly disease under control," National People's Congress delegate Shi Zuolin was quoted yesterday as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
He said current regulations were inadequate and some were contradictory, Xinhua said.
Beijing has faced widespread condemnation for disguising the scale of its AIDS epidemic, neglecting to treat patients properly and arresting activists and journalists.
The central Henan Province was the scene of one of China's worst AIDS outbreaks in the 1980s and early 1990s when thousands were infected after selling their blood plasma and having HIV-infected blood pumped back into them.
Officials say between 840,000 and 1 million people of China's population of 1.3 billion have HIV. But experts and activists say the outbreak is far greater than official figures show.
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