China Criticized Over High Death Rate of Blood Seller AIDS Patients
January 25, 2006
In announcing new estimates of China's HIV/AIDS epidemic today, the Health Ministry acknowledged a high AIDS mortality rate among those who contracted HIV through unsafe, government-approved plasma collecting stations.
Of the 25,000 people who died of AIDS in China last year, 10,000 acquired their infections through blood-buying schemes, said the Health Ministry. The high mortality comes despite estimates that those infected through blood-buying, mostly poor farmers, comprise a small proportion of total AIDS cases in China.
The high mortality figure also exposes flaws in the two-year-old government program to offer free treatment to the farmers, said AIDS activists.
"There are many people who don't have access to the free medicine," said Hu Jia, coordinator of Lovingsource, a nongovernmental group in Beijing. The treatments offered contain older drugs that also have severe side effects, Hu said. "Many people's conditions deteriorate after using the three-drug combination because they also got hepatitis B from blood selling and the drugs do further harm to the liver."
Since it often takes years before HIV progresses to AIDS, it could also be that the blood-sellers are just beginning to reach the critical stage in their disease.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.