China Detains Six People Involved in Blood Selling Scheme in Guangdong Province
Chinese authorities on Wednesday detained six people involved in a blood selling scheme in Jieyang city in China's Guangdong province, including the "mastermind" of the scheme and five sellers, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports (AP/International Herald Tribune, 4/6). Blood selling practices during the 1990s in China's Henan province contributed to the spread of HIV, which affected about one million people, according to some advocates. The situation in Henan led officials to pledge reform, and China's Ministry of Health says that it maintains stringent supervision of blood-collection centers in the country. According to the health ministry, it closed about 150 illegal collection and supply agencies nationwide in 2004, the last year for which official figures are available (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/2). According to the United Nations and the Chinese government, tainted blood largely has been brought under control in the country, the AP/Herald Tribune reports. About 5% of newly diagnosed HIV cases last year were the result of tainted blood transfusions or blood selling, according to the health ministry. A Xinhua News Agency report posted on the Jieyang government's Web site said that blood sellers still number in the hundreds. The report also said that people who sell their blood often take medication that allows them to sell blood frequently and some sell their blood up to 16 times monthly. It is not clear if the detainees received HIV tests, the AP/Herald Tribune reports (AP/International Herald Tribune, 4/6).
China Not Investing Enough To Fight HIV/AIDS, Panel Says
China is not investing enough to effectively fight the HIV/AIDS in the country, and the government must do more to prevent the disease, a panel of experts and health workers said on Thursday, Reuters reports. According to the panel, discrimination and ignorance in China also are hampering prevention and treatment efforts. According to the panel, a sense that HIV/AIDS no longer is considered a priority in some circles is another concern. Jing Jun, a professor at Tsinghua University's AIDS Policy Center, said, "I think China is entering a stage of AIDS fatigue. Now some officials are questioning how much money should be invested in the field, and some scholars working on AIDS have now transferred to other fields." He added, "I don't think China is controlling the epidemic. The epidemic is still growing." Henk Bekedam, World Health Organization representative in Beijing, said that although the central government has implemented many effective policies, including methadone clinics and outreach programs, the message is not reaching some officials. The disease "still remains a very sensitive area in many central provinces," Bekedam said, adding that in "that sense, it remains an unresolved issue." Yang Xusheng of the Chinese Red Cross said he hopes to attract more international donors and to encourage Chinese companies and wealthy individuals in the country to pledge funding. About $388 million was invested in China's HIV/AIDS control activities last year, Jing said, adding that the government and the international community are not providing enough funds to the effort (Blanchard, Reuters, 4/5).