Chinese Government's Failure to Adequately Address AIDS Epidemic Contributes to HIV Spread, Report Says
September 4, 2003
The Chinese government is fueling the spread of HIV by refusing to provide treatment and information to its citizens and by failing to hold government officials accountable for blood collection practices that transmitted HIV to thousands of people in China, according to a Human Rights Watch report released yesterday, Reuters reports. The 94-page report, titled "Locked Doors: The Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS in China," was based on more than 30 interviews with HIV-positive people, police officers, drug users and outreach workers in Beijing, Hong Kong and Yunnan province (Reuters, 9/3). The report found HIV prevalence rates among people who participated in a government-sponsored blood selection scheme to be between 4% and 40% across seven Chinese provinces, which have a combined total population of 420 million people. "This suggests that the number of persons with HIV is much higher than the one million cases the Beijing officially acknowledges," the report says (Parry, Agence France-Presse, 9/3). The report also said that HIV-positive people face discriminatory laws on both the national and local levels. Some local laws prevent HIV-positive people from entering public swimming pools or working in the food service industry. According to the report, HIV-positive people in China may also lack access to health care services and information on how to prevent HIV transmission (Wong, AP/Yahoo! News, 9/3).
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