China To Launch Nationwide Survey of People Who Sold Their Blood To Determine Extent of HIV/AIDS Epidemic
China plans to launch a nationwide survey of residents who sold their blood in the 1990s to determine the extent of the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to Ministry of Health spokesperson Mao Qunan, Reuters reports (Reuters, 10/13). Unsafe blood collection procedures in the early and mid-1990s facilitated HIV infection among many rural Chinese farmers. The program paid farmers for their blood and sold it at state hospitals and private clinics (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/14). In some villages, as many as 20% of the population contracted HIV (Reuters, 10/13). The government in July began a survey project that aims to reach more than one million people in 18 cities and 35 counties in the Henan province to determine how many people in that region are HIV-positive. The Chinese government estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people in the country and that 80,000 people have AIDS; however, some experts believe that those figures are an underestimate. The United Nations estimates that there are at least one million HIV-positive people in China (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/14). That number could reach 10 million if HIV/AIDS is "not treated seriously," according to U.N. estimates, Reuters reports. "At present, the AIDS epidemic situation in our country is severe," Mao said, adding, "Infections and death are booming from people who were infected with AIDS by selling blood before and after 1995." China passed a law in August prohibiting the blood trade (Reuters, 10/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.