If you remember, when this story broke a week or so ago, all the honorable officials would say was, “There is no AIDS here!” and refuse to give their names to the reporters.
Oh, what a difference a week can make. Now the government is confirming that there is indeed an AIDS breakkout in the region, brought about by the government’s blood-donation business that started in 1984 and was closed a decade later:
A new outbreak of HIV/AIDS has surfaced in northeastern China’s Jilin province where up to 300 villagers could be infected with AIDS after donating blood at government blood stations, villagers and a rights group said.
“Right now there are three or four villages that have AIDS,” an official at the Soudeng township in Jilin city told AFP by phone.
He refused to estimate how many people in the area had been infected by the virus that causes AIDS, but the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said that up to 300 people could be infected.
“My uncle was infected with AIDS and died yesterday morning. My mother and father also have AIDS,” Huang Rui, a villager in Liujiatun village told AFP.
China is opening up about AIDS and they are finally showing signs of dealing with the catastrophe, or at least of doing more than nothing. Maybe it’s time they do away with their knee-jerk reaction of lies and denials everytime AIDS appears someplace new.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.