Reuters Profiles "AIDS Village" in China's Henan Province
March 15, 2004
Reuters on Monday examined an "AIDS village" in China's Henan province, where approximately 900 of the village's 3,800 people are HIV-positive. More than 30% of the people living with HIV in the village of Shuang Miao contracted HIV through a government-sponsored blood collection program (Liu, Reuters, 3/15). In the early 1990s, hundreds of thousands of poor Chinese farmers contracted HIV through the program, which paid them for their blood and sold it at state hospitals and private clinics. Chinese officials have been reluctant to openly discuss HIV/AIDS because they fear being blamed for the epidemic and fear the response from foreign investors (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/19). More than 1,200 people in Shuang Miao "regularly" sold their blood for $5 per visit, according to Zhu Jingzhong, an HIV-positive farmer who became an "informal" HIV/AIDS advocate in 2000. He added, "It was like an atomic bomb went off. Villagers started dying at the same time. Some committed suicide when they found out [their HIV status.]" Chinese government officials have said that they will begin providing antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people in villages similar to Shuang Miao throughout the country, but villagers have said that "real benefits have yet to trickle down to them," Reuters reports.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.