Healthcare in China - Medical Issues in China - HIV and AIDS


The AIDS catastrophe of Henan in the mid 1990s was estimated as the largest man made health catastrophe concerning from half to one million persons. It was also in Hebei, Anhui, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hubei and Guizhou. HIV was transmitted in blood sale. Blood plasma mixture from several persons was returned so that same person could give blood up to 11 times a day. Catastrophe was recognized only in 2000 and found out abroad in 2001. Pensioner Gao Yaojie sold her house to deliver data leaflets of HIV to people, while the officials tried to prevent her. Some local officials and politicians were involved in the blood sale. In 2003 2.6% of Chinese knew that a condome could protect from AIDS.

China blocked by police protest over ineffective drug treatments, cancelled meetings on HIV groups, closured office of the AIDS organization, and detained or put under house arrest prominent AIDS activists such as 2005 Reebok Human Rights Award winner Li Dan, eighty-year old AIDS activist Dr. Gao Yaojie, and the husband-and-wife HIV activist team of Hu Jia (activist) and Zeng Jinyan.

China, similar to other nations with migrant and socially mobile populations, has experienced increased incidences of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). By the mid-1980s, some Chinese physicians recognized HIV and AIDS as a serious health threat but considered it to be a "foreign problem". As of mid-1987 only two Chinese citizens had died from AIDS and monitoring of foreigners had begun. Following a 1987 regional World Health Organization meeting, the Chinese government announced it would join the global fight against AIDS, which would involve quarantine inspection of people entering China from abroad, medical supervision of people vulnerable to AIDS, and establishment of AIDS laboratories in coastal cities. Within China, the rapid increase in venereal disease, prostitution and drug addiction, internal migration since the 1980s and poorly supervised plasma collection practices, especially by the Henan provincial authorities, created conditions for a serious outbreak of HIV in the early 1990s.

As of 2005 about 1 million Chinese have been infected with HIV, leading to about 150,000 AIDS deaths. Projections are for about 10 million cases by 2010 if nothing is done. Effective preventive measures have become a priority at the highest levels of the government, but progress is slow. A promising pilot program exists in Gejiu partially funded by international donors.

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