China AIDS Mortality Drops but Patients Denied Hospital Care

The mortality of AIDS patients in China has dropped 64% since 2002, when free retroviral drugs began being distributed in the country. From the New York Times:

About 63 percent of all those needing AIDS drugs are getting them, up from virtually zero in 2002. That has caused a 64 percent drop in mortality in “person-years,” as China measures it, an estimate of how long someone would have lived without the disease.

AIDS mortality dropped to 14.2 per 100 person-years in 2009, from 39.3 in 2002.

The study, led by China’s national center for control and prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, was published online on Wednesday by Lancet Infectious Diseases.

China’s success in such a short time “is a testimony to the young midlevel scientists who convinced the leadership that this was the right thing to do,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, an AIDS specialist from the University of North Carolina who has lived in China and helped it battle the epidemic.

Meanwhile, another report found that people with AIDS in China are routinely denied hospital care due to ignorance about the disease even within the medical profession. From Reuters:

Based on interviews with 103 people living with HIV and 23 healthcare workers, the ILO and China’s National Center for STD and AIDS Prevention and Control found that people have been refused medical care and have been discriminated against by healthcare workers.

One HIV-positive man, talking at a news conference to unveil the report, recounted how he was denied medical treatment for his back problem because of his HIV status in hospitals in Tianjin and Beijing.

“The doctor said at our hospital, many patients need surgery, and if other patients get infected, it will be a very bad thing,” said the man, who declined to be identified.

“At the second hospital … the doctor told me: ‘I sympathize with your suffering but because of your status, I dare not operate on you’,” said the man, who is a farmer from Tianjin and added he was forced to leave his job in a steel firm after his boss discovered he had HIV.


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