Hepatitis B in China: B is for bigotry – Economist

The Economist writes about the discrimination faced by the one out of ten Chinese citizens who suffer from :

IN CHINA, as elsewhere, people with HIV/AIDS often suffer discrimination. But a far bigger group of virus carriers in China encounters similar bigotry. For 130m Chinese carrying the hepatitis B virus, which can cause fatal liver diseases, it can be hard to get a job”or even a decent education, as a group of schoolchildren in the far west recently found out.

Carriers of hepatitis B often show no symptoms. In China, many first learn they are infected when they apply for work or a place at university and undergo medical examinations. In September elite state-run boarding schools in Urumqi, about 2,400km (1,500 miles) west of Beijing, gave new entrants a blood test and barred entry to 19 children found with the virus. Hepatitis B, like HIV, cannot be transmitted through food or casual contact. But victims of discrimination are often reluctant to draw attention to their plight. However, these parents were in anguish at the loss of a golden educational opportunity. A small local NGO, the Snow Lotus HIV/AIDS Education Institute, took up the children’s cause and published details on the internet. State-run newspapers picked up the story. [Full text]

Read more about the Snow Lotus HIV/AIDS Education Institute, including a statement from the founder after their organization was banned for exposing the Urumqi Hepatitis cases

Read more about discrimination against Hepatitis B patients, via the Globe and Mail.

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