AIDS Patients Topple Government Gate

As the AIDS mortality rate in China has dropped, other reports found people with AIDS in China were denied hospital care. The Associated Press reports about 300 patients and their relatives toppled the main gate of a government building at a protest due to unmet demands for financial assistance:

Protester Li Xia said police in Zhengzhou city beat some of the patients with batons after the group gathered outside the Henan provincial government office and blocked the main gate to demand a meeting with officials. She said one protester was dragged into the government building by police.

“We want the government to give us some help,” said Li, who like many of the protesters was infected with HIV when she sold blood in 1995. Tens of thousands of people contracted the virus that causes AIDS in a blood-selling scandal in Henan in the 1990s that is widely seen as a failure of government leadership.

Collectors paid villagers to give their blood, pooled it without testing for HIV or anything else, extracted the valuable plasma then re-injected the blood back into those who sold it. Officials covered up the problem for years, which allowed HIV to spread when people were unknowingly infected from tainted transfusions at hospitals.

Officials at the Zhengzhou city government propaganda office and the city’s police bureau refused to comment. A woman who answered the phone at the Henan provincial government office denied that there had been a protest.

As the blood-selling scandal continues to affect China, a man was reportedly pricked by an HIV infected needle inside a taxi. From China Daily:

According to Beijing News, 37-year-old Xu Tian (not his real name) got into a taxi in Haidian district in the capital on Tuesday night. Sitting on the backseat, he felt a sting on his leg when he lifted it.

He took the syringe to Chaoyang District Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. He later found the fluid contained HIV.

A doctor, surnamed Jiang, at the department of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS detection at the center, confirmed to China Daily on Friday that a man came to the center with a syringe at about 3 pm on Wednesday, saying he was punctured by it.

Jiang said there was “very little light yellow fluid” left in the cap and the syringe barrel, and the center took a sample of the fluid in the needle cap, and found it was HIV antibody positive after a quick test.

According to The Times of India, there has been a big increase in AIDS cases among Chinese over 50 years old:

There is a big spurt of HIV and AIDS cases among people aged 50 and above in China in recent years, a trend, Chinese health officials say is unique requiring “targeted intervention”.

“Worldwide, the new trend is so far detected only on the Chinese mainland, and most of the older carriers were infected due to prostitution,” Wu Zunyou, director of the National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, told China Daily.

Also a growing number of rural women left behind by husbands who sought employment in cities entered the sex trade, targeting mainly older men in rural areas, Ge Xianmin, a key official with the HIV/AIDS prevention and control office in Guangxi, said “That’s a key reason for quickly rising HIV prevalence among local senior men,” he said.

By the end of June, nearly 93% of newly reported HIV/AIDS cases in Guangxi were due to unprotected sex, and 30% of those cases were older men, he said.

See also Progress and Shortcomings in China’s Fight Against AIDS, via CDT.


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