In the past decade, tremendous efforts have been made and impressive achievements have been obtained in accelerating universal access for HIV prevention, treatment and care and support worldwide and in China. China is one of only a few low- and middle-income countries in which domestic funds account for the major proportion of their HIV/AIDS program funding.

The International Journal of Epidemiology December 2010 supplement issue entitled “China’s AIDS Policy Implementation,” has assembled and editorial and 11 papers describing the various aspects of China’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. All articles in the issue are open access.

Editorial: China AIDS policy implementation: reversing the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2015

1. Evolution of information-driven HIV/AIDS policies in China
China’s current national policies are increasingly information driven and responsive to changes in the epidemic. However, gaps remain in policy implementation, and new policies are needed to meet emerging challenges.

2. Contributions of international cooperation projects to the HIV/AIDS response in China
International cooperation projects have been an invaluable component of China’s response to HIV/AIDS, and China has now been able to take this information and share its experiences with other countries with the help of these same international programs.

3. Estimating the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in China: 2003–09
Repeated estimates have improved understanding of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in China. HIV estimates are a valuable tool for guiding national AIDS policies evaluating HIV prevention and control programs.

4. Scaling up the national methadone maintenance treatment program in China: achievements and challenges
This article documents the steps China made in overcoming the many barriers to success of its methadone program. These lessons might be useful for other countries in the region that are scaling-up their methadone programs.

5. Scaling up prevention programmes to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV in China
Prevention programs for reducing sexual transmission of HIV have reasonable coverage, but can still improve. The quality of intervention needs to be improved in order to have a meaningful impact on changing behaviour to reducing HIV sexual transmission. Systematic evaluation of the policies, guidelines and intervention programmes needs to be conducted to understand their impact and to maintain adherence.

6. Design and implementation of a China comprehensive AIDS response programme (China CARES), 2003–08
China CARES has facilitated AIDS prevention, treatment and care in resource-poor, rural and ethnic minority areas of China.

7. Changing baseline characteristics among patients in the China National Free Antiretroviral Treatment Program, 2002–09
Limited treatment resources can be focused on areas with more patients. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on earlier HIV diagnosis and treatment. New strategies must be identified to bring HIV-infected injection drug users into treatment. Routine HIV testing would identify those at risk earlier.

8. From spectators to implementers: civil society organizations involved in AIDS programmes in China
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have significantly increased their participation and contribution to HIV/AIDS programs in China. Policies for registration and financial support to CSOs need to be developed to enable them to play an even greater role in HIV/AIDS programs.

9. Quality assurance in the HIV/AIDS laboratory network of China
China has made significant progress in establishing a well-coordinated HIV laboratory network and quality assurance systems. However, the coverage and intensity of HIV testing and quality assurance programs need to be strengthened so as to ensure that more infected persons are diagnosed and that they receive timely prevention and treatment services.

10. Development of a unified web-based national HIV/AIDS information system in China
China’s new unified, web-based HIV/AIDS information system has improved the efficiency of data collection, reporting, analysis and use, as well as data quality and security. It is a powerful tool to support policy making, program evaluation and implementation of the national HIV/AIDS program and, thus, may serve a model for other countries.

11. Quantitatively monitoring AIDS policy implementation in China
Setting targets for core indicators and monitoring performance has facilitated implementation of the national AIDS program in China.