Chinese Hospitals Often Reject AIDS Patients, Study Finds

Hospitals in China may be routinely refusing to treat AIDS and HIV patients because of fear and ignorance about the disease.

Reuters, citing a study by the United Nations International Labor Organization, said these patients commonly are shunned by health care workers even for ailments unrelated to AIDS.

The conclusions were based on interviews conducted by the ILO along with a unit of the Chinese health ministry, the National Center for AIDS/STD Prevention and Control. The researchers spoke with 103 people infected with HIV as well as 23 health care workers.

In one example provided by the researchers, a farmer with HIV said he was refused treatment for a back problem at hospitals in Tianjin and Beijing because doctors feared he would infect other patients. The farmer also said he was forced out of a job at a steel company when his boss learned he had HIV.

AIDS and HIV became a major problem in China, whose population is 1.34 billion, because of blood-selling schemes during the 1990s but the virus now is spread mainly through sexual contact.

AIDS activists have faced persecution by the Chinese government, which claims that in 2009 there were 105,000 AIDS patients in China and 740,000 people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Those figures have been disputed by Dr. Gao Yaojie, an AIDS  activist who fled China in 2009 and now lives in New York. Yaojie, in a report last fall, told the BBC that the blood-selling scheme was far more devastating than the government admits, and asserts that 10 million Chinese have been infected, gotten ill with AIDS or died.

Dr. Zhang Ke, deputy director of the infectious disease department at the Beijing You’an Hospital, said people with HIV and  AIDS can be treated only in designated hospitals, a policy he believes is misguided.

Beijing has stepped up the fight against AIDS and HIV in recent years, launching prevention and treatment programs, Reuters said. But because of the stigma, many who are infected are likely to avoid treatment.


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One comment to “Chinese Hospitals Often Reject AIDS Patients, Study Finds”

  1. Mary

    Re:solve is raising money to get a promising AIDS vaccine through testing and approval so that it can be distributed to everyone who needs it.

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