China: Clinics deny AIDS patients

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China: Clinics deny treatment to AIDS patients

In China, patients with HIV infection are regularly denied treatment in clinics. This comes from an investigation report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the UN. According to this, most people with AIDS would not be treated in hospitals because of their infection, but often simply sent away again.

Clinics reject AIDS patients
According to official information, 740,000 people in the People's Republic of China are infected with the HI virus. If they get sick or if the infectious disease AIDS breaks out, most of those affected have to fear not being treated in a hospital. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), most clinics regularly refuse to treat AIDS patients. The UN agency said that it had spoken to more than 100 affected patients, 23 clinic directors and another number of clinic staff. The interviews clearly demonstrate discrimination against those infected with HIV. For example, a 37-year-old man from the Chinese province of Shaanxi described how difficult it was for him to be operated on because of a stomach knot. "Every clinic advised me to go to surgery immediately, but when they heard I was HIV positive, they didn't want to take me in," he told the ILO. A special clinic also refused the treatment. When asked why the patient was rejected, a manager said that "reputation could be harmed" if other patients found out. Out of ignorance, many people in China fear infection. Many believe that the operation in the operating room of an AIDS patient is enough to catch the infection later. A responsible person said: "The reputation would be ruined, many patients would refuse further treatment with us and go to another clinic".

Hospitals worry about rich patients Although China presents itself as a “socialist country”, most hospitals are primarily profit-oriented. The concern of many clinics is that if they show that they also treat people with AIDS, they will lose wealthy patients. The Chinese government in Beijing had already introduced stricter rules at the beginning of the year to end the problem. However, according to the UN representatives, these regulations are still insufficient to protect those affected by HIV from discrimination by clinics. Blatant discrimination continues to take place.

AIDS and homosexuality Decades-long taboo topics Just like homosexuality, the immunodeficiency disorder AIDS in China was a government-mandated taboo topic not long ago. During and after the Cold War, the Chinese government prohibited any discussion or public debate on the subject. It has only opened in the past three years. Nevertheless, there are large gaps in knowledge among the population about the transmission routes of the infectious disease. Many people think that skin contact may be enough to get infected. According to official information, around 740,000 people, including 10,000 children, live with the virus in China. According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, 35,000 people officially died of AIDS. Independent health experts, however, estimate the numbers to be much higher. In some provinces, the proportion of people affected by HIV is said to be 70 percent, because traders in the early 1990s took blood for little money in rural areas and only changed syringes when they were completely blunt. (sb)

Also read:
UN warns of rapid spread of AIDS
AIDS: SI virus is considered a precursor to HIV
Why some do not get AIDS despite HIV
AIDS: no fate with correct antibodies?
World AIDS Day: more solidarity required

Image: Dieter Schütz /

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