More Than 12,000 People in Beijing Living With HIV/AIDS, Health Bureau Says
More than 12,000 people in Beijing are living with HIV/AIDS, according to data released Thursday by the city's municipal public health bureau, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. According to the health bureau, the disease has entered a new phase in the city and likely will spread more rapidly, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. The health bureau officially has recorded 3,462 cases of HIV/AIDS in the city, but a more accurate count totals about three times that number because it includes people who are unaware they are HIV-positive or have not sought treatment, officials said. The statistics also show that among the reported cases, 686 are Beijing residents, 2,634 are people from other provinces and 142 are foreigners. Injection drug users account for 1,357 of the reported cases; 924 cases were transmitted through sexual intercourse; 535 were the result of blood transfusions; 46 were transmitted from mother to child; and about 600 were untraceable, Xinhua/People's Daily reports (Xinhua/People Daily, 4/20). According to Zhao Chunhui, vice director of the public health bureau, the bureau this year plans to establish a network that will monitor HIV/AIDS programs for all groups. The municipal government has set aside 500,000 yuan, or about $62,500, to provide access to no-cost antiretroviral treatment for people living with the disease, Zhao said (Xinhua News Agency, 4/20). The Beijing government also has plans to build at least one HIV prevention clinic in each of the city's 18 districts and counties before the end of 2008. China officially recorded 183,733 HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, but experts from the Ministry of Health estimate there likely are about 650,000 people living with the disease in the country (Xinhua/People Daily, 4/20).
HIV/AIDS Advocate Gao Under House Arrest After Returning to China
Chinese authorities have resumed house arrest of Chinese HIV/AIDS advocate and retired physician Gao Yaojie after she returned from a trip to the U.S. to receive an award from the Vital Voices Global Partnership for her efforts to fight the disease, the Kyodo News reports. According to an article published Thursday in the weekly magazine Yazhou Zhoukan, Gao said authorities in Henan province have isolated her by restricting visitors to her home and partially disabling her cell phone. "I am under surveillance," Gao said, adding, "What the local authorities have done is against the law." According to Gao, she is "not optimistic about" the fight against HIV/AIDS in China. She added that she has "no idea where it's heading ... If things turn bad, I will be forced to commit suicide" (Kyodo News, 4/19).