Official Chinese Newspaper Makes ‘Unusual’ Disclosure of HIV Cases
The Guangzhou Daily, a Chinese state newspaper, yesterday made the "unusual" move of reporting that 118 people in the northern city of Yuncheng in the Shanxi province have contracted HIV through selling their blood, the Associated Press reports. These newly reported cases account for half of the province's confirmed infections. The Chinese government has criticized both foreign and Chinese journalists who report on "AIDS villages," where large numbers of people contracted HIV through blood selling. However, in recent months the government has been disclosing more cases, "after years of denials that the disease was a problem." Most of the infected people in Yuncheng acquired HIV while selling their blood, while a few contracted the virus through unsterilized needles. All are believed to have been infected before 1998 when the government began enforcing stricter regulations for blood sales. In the 1990s, unregulated blood traders paid villagers for their blood, often taking only the plasma and pooling the remaining blood before reinjecting it into the donors so they could donate again more quickly. An estimated 600,000 Chinese are HIV-positive, and the United Nations says that figure could rise to 20 million by 2010 if public education campaigns and further measures to restrict the blood trade are not enacted (Associated Press, 10/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.