Chinese AIDS Village: A well-hidden tragedy

I was about to write a post on a story I just saw on BBC about AIDS in China when I saw that Adam had once more scooped me on it, so I won’t regurgitate the whole thing.

Let me just say that it was far more terrifying and heart-breaking on video than in print. Bottom line is that the BBC reporter visits an AIDS-afflicted village in which 600 of the 3000 inhabitants are afflicted and many have died already. The village is off-limits to foreigners. The authorities spot them, the reporters manage to flee but their Chinese escorts are arrested and are proabably in jail right now.

Adam also looks at the flurry of AIDS news generated by the Clinton-led conference this week in Beijing and concludes that things appear to be getting better. True. But we urgently need to keep in mind (and I’m sure Adam does) that it is getting better from a point below zero. IOW, they have such a long way to go that the government’s recent efforts (“November is AIDS awareness month”) seem hopelessly trivial. Still, they have to start somewhere, so let’s hope they are getting serious.

To give you an idea of how wretched life is for AIDS sufferers in China, let me just remind you of the first thing that happens when someone is diagnosed with AIDS there: The doctors must report it to local authorities who immediately report it to the unlucky victim’s employer. They are usually if not always fired at once and left in a state of permanent stigmatization. And it’s all downhill from there. There is no safety net, although this week the government says it will start helping the poorest victims with free drugs.

Okay, I know I tend to go on about this topic. But I’ll keep at it. The CCP would rather the world forget it, but we won’t let them, will we?

Related post: The indescribable tragedy of AIDS in China

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