China AIDS Victims Fight Bad Drugs, Ineptitude
July 5, 2005
HIV/AIDS patients in China's Henan province, many of whom were infected through botched blood-selling schemes in the mid-1990s, are not getting the treatment and support they need, say AIDS activists. "Officials just hand out medicine and consider their work done," said Wan Yanhai, AIDS activist and director of the Aizhixing Institute of Health Education. "They are not trying to improve the lives of these people."
Many patients stop taking the government's free medication because of side effects. "Overseas experts say that the cocktail we are currently using to treat AIDS is incomparably bad," said AIDS activist Hu Jia. "While it can help in some cases, the side effects are enormous."
Wan said the government's free medication drive was hampered by the limited types of drugs available in China and the detachment of local officials, who might not even ascertain the treatments are not working.
"The government has done a lot, but there are still big problems," Wan said. "They rarely talk to people with AIDS about their treatments or their needs. Doctors should prescribe medications to patients and clearly explain how to use them. But in China, these drugs are being doled out to patients by infectious-disease control authorities."
In Shuangmiao, local officials nearly shut down the Care Home, a private orphanage for children whose parents died of AIDS, in January 2004. Officials moved all but four of the 53 children who once lived there to a government-run facility. The local government also diverted a China Central Television contribution earmarked for the Care Home to the state-run home, according to Yang Guixiang, widow of Care Home's founder.
06.30.05; Juliana Liu
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.