Globe and Mail Profiles Woman Who ‘Changed Face of AIDS’ in China
Toronto's Globe and Mail on Monday profiled Dr. Gao Yaojie, a woman who has waged a "long, lonely crusade" to bring public attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in China. Gao -- who finally is receiving attention for her work after years of intimidation and harassment by Chinese authorities -- has worked to focus attention on a "horrifying AIDS catastrophe" in her home province of Henan and has "changed the face of AIDS" in China (Mickleburgh, Globe and Mail, 11/8). Unsafe blood collection practices in the early and mid-1990s facilitated HIV transmission among many rural Chinese farmers. The program paid farmers for their blood and sold it at state hospitals and private clinics. The government last month announced plans to launch a nationwide survey of residents to determine the extent of the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic. The government in July began a survey project that aims to reach more than one million people in 18 cities and 35 counties in Henan 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, 10/14). Gao was an "underground legend" for many years because of her "heroic effort" to help thousands of Henan villagers who contracted HIV as a result of blood donations, according to the Globe and Mail. Now that China is "waking up to the threat" of HIV/AIDS, Gao has begun to receive national attention, and the government has begun to offer help by establishing clinics and providing medication, according to the Globe and Mail (Globe and Mail, 11/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.