The Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in southern Sichuan Province is a vast area of mountainous terrain where poverty is as common as the cliffs. Many villages in Liangshan Yi are perched among those cliffs, with some places reachable only via climbs up vines of trees and steep ladders made of ropes.
In early March, representatives from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and the Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (CFHPC) made their way to Liangshan Yi to launch, along with local officials, the Liangshan Yi HIV/HCV co-infection Prevention and Management Program. Through seminars, training and field visits, the program will help bring more effective HIV/HCV co-infection prevention and control to the region. Reaching a destination as remote as Liangshan Yi is the latest milestone in a journey undertaken by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation in a country where as many as 10 million people are infected with the hepatitis C virus and millions more are at risk for contracting it.
The path to a new era in viral hepatitis treatment in China began more than 15 years ago for Bristol Myers Squibb. During this span, the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation’s Delivering Hope™ initiative has supported projects in China and India that provide intervention in hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infection and provide resources for better disease management. In China alone, the foundation has invested more than $9 million, and its partners have been active in 28 provinces and cities, reaching more than 8 million people at high risk of hepatitis infection with information on how to minimize their risk of contracting the diseases and the importance of treatment.