Shanghai Police Break Up News Conference of Hemophiliacs Who Allegedly Contracted HIV From Government-Supported Facility
Shanghai, China, police on Thursday broke up a news conference when they closed a hotel where about 40 hemophiliacs -- who are seeking compensation for allegedly contracting HIV from blood sold at a government-supported facility in the 1990s -- and their family members were meeting with reporters, the South China Morning Post reports. An undisclosed number of people contracted HIV after they received a Factor V8 clotting agent at the Shanghai Institute of Biological Products. Some of those who contracted HIV at the facility say it sold Factor V8 after officials became aware the clotting agent might be contaminated with the virus. A local court ordered that a fund be established for 55 Shanghai residents who contracted HIV through Factor V8. The court did not place fault on the clinic, and the fund is not available for people who do not reside in Shanghai. A local court in a separate case ruled against a lawsuit filed by five people who do not live in the city, saying the government's provision of no-cost treatment for HIV-positive people was sufficient (Savadove, South China Morning Post, 4/21). Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education Director Wan Yanhai, who is assisting some of the patients, said some of them were promised aid in September 2005 but never received it (Kyodo/Yahoo! Asia News, 4/20). Hemophiliacs and their family members from across China traveled to Shanghai to attend the news conference and attempt to negotiate with the facility, the AP/Washington Post reports. When police stopped the news conference, they detained reporters in attendance and released them after questioning (Bodeen, AP/Washington Post, 4/20). According to the Morning Post, none of the group's members was "formally detained," but some reported being harassed (South China Morning Post, 4/21). The Chinese government last year said it would sternly punish people responsible for transmission of major diseases through blood transfusions (Reuters , 4/20).
In related news, Reuters on Thursday examined sex education efforts in China, where despite the government's "stern family planning policy," there has been a "huge rise in premarital and teenage" sex, as well as an increase in sexual transmission of HIV. Government media have reported that in 2004, 70% of urban youth in China reported having sex, an increase from 15% in 1999. In addition, about 70% of male migrant workers and 80% of commercial sex workers in the country do not use condoms, government media have said. Liu Dalin, a retired Fudan University sociology professor, has taught sex education classes at universities but said he has not been allowed into secondary schools (Reuters , 4/20).