Chinese Town on ‘Drug-Trafficking Route’ Establishes HIV/AIDS Prevention Program for Addicts
Health officials in the Chinese town of Butuo, where "poor uneducated youths use heroin as a cure for boredom," have acknowledged that HIV/AIDS is present in their community and have established a prevention program that focuses on drug addicts and prostitutes, the New York Times reports. Officials in the town, where many have "never heard of" HIV/AIDS, have teamed up with Doctors Without Borders to use the town's drug detoxification center for HIV/AIDS prevention programs. "At first we didn't want to talk about it ... and we certainly didn't want to see how bad it was. But then we realized that if we didn't do anything, 300 [HIV-positive] people could quickly become 3,000," Liu Yan, deputy commissioner of Liangshan prefecture, said. "Hundreds" of citizens in the 10,000-person Liangshan province town -- which is located "on the drug-trafficking route that connects Myanmar with China's northern cities" -- are thought to carry the virus. Three years ago, surveys showed that 10% of Butuo's drug users were HIV-positive, a percentage that is "almost certainly much higher now," as the disease spreads rapidly between people who share needles (Rosenthal, New York Times, 12/21). The full text of the article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.