Chinese Farmers With HIV/AIDS Threatened With Tear Gas After Protest for Medical Files
November 26, 2007
On Nov. 21 in Beijing, authorities roughed up and detained 15 AIDS patients from Henan province -- the epicenter of a state-sanctioned, blood-buying scandal in the 1990s -- who were demanding better medical care and access to their medical records. "Let them detain us, more will always come," said Sun Ailing, one of 13 other protesters who were not taken by police.
And on Nov. 19, 18 AIDS patients were forcibly removed from the Ningling County Women and Children's Hospital in Henan after staging a sit-in to demand copies of their medical records, protesters said. Of those removed, 15 were women who had received blood transfusions at the hospital, and three were men who had become infected through their wives, said activist Xu Xianli.
Xu and fellow protester Wang Fengying said they were told by a county official that their records could not be released without a special order from the central government. They said they were dragged from the hospital by riot police and officials after being threatened with tear gas.
The reported rough treatment highlights the Chinese government's lingering hesitance to fully acknowledge the incompetence that led HIV to spread widely in Henan. After denying for years that AIDS was a problem, the government has recently become more open, promising free treatment, anonymous testing, and a ban on HIV/AIDS discrimination.
Xu said his wife had a transfusion at the Ningling hospital after a Caesarean section delivery in 1995. She had another transfusion after a miscarriage in 1999 and learned she was HIV-positive after another miscarriage five years later, he said.
11.21.2007; Anita Chang
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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.