- SHANGHAI (Reuters) - At least
54 hemophiliacs in Shanghai have contracted AIDS via tainted blood, the
China Daily said Tuesday, a day after millions around the globe marked
World Aids Day.
- It also comes a day after Premier Wen Jiabao was shown
on television shaking hands with AIDS patients, an unprecedented public
show of support by a Chinese leader.
- Tainted blood has been a major scourge in China's countryside,
where villagers sell their blood to supplement meager incomes, but often
end up contracting HIV as a result. HIV is the virus that cases AIDS.
- Activists and experts continue to point out local cover-ups
of blood bank scandals plaguing entire villages, as well as newspaper stories
that play down the plight of people.
- About 6.5 percent of Shanghai's 886 HIV carriers contracted
the virus through blood transfusions, the nation's premier English daily
cited figures from the city's Center for Disease Prevention and Control
- The newspaper did not offer any time frame. Government
and health officials declined comment.
- "That's a state secret," one health official
- The United Nations estimates AIDS will have killed about
three million people this year, a global pandemic set to worsen as it sweeps
across Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.
- China has been lambasted for its slow response to a disease
that has since infected more than 800,000 around the country.
- Health agencies say China could have 10 million AIDS
victims by 2010 if it fails to take the scourge seriously.
- U.S. teenage hemophiliac Ryan White became a national
hero in the 1980s after contracting AIDS via a transfusion. He was banned
from grade school by students' parents but won re-admission after a legal
- Shanghai now provides free medical treatment for infected
hemophiliacs, and has been paying them a monthly subsidy of 1,000 yuan
($120) since 2002, the China Daily reported. ($1 = 8.277 yuan)
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