AIDS, bloodheads and cover-ups: the "abc" of Henan's AIDS epidemic

Hayes, Anna (2005) AIDS, bloodheads and cover-ups: the "abc" of Henan's AIDS epidemic. Australian Quarterly, 77 (5). pp. 12-16.

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[Extract] With a population over 92 million, Henan is the most populous province in the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is also a province that is on the brink of experiencing one of the world's most devastating health crises if the HIV/AIDS epidemic there continues to grow. Although the director of the Henan Provincial Health Department vigorously stated in 1995-1996, There is no HIV/AIDS in Henan Province', by2000 it had become evident that around 500,000 to 700,000 people living in the province had contracted HIV/AIDS.2 At present, in many villages in Henan Province, approximately thirty youths and middle aged people are dying from AIDS each year. The common theme among these victims is that they all sold their blood.3 While the PRC is currently experiencing serious localized HIV/ AIDS epidemics throughout all its provinces, Henan Province has emerged as an area of particular interest, largely because of the role that blood selling has played in the spread of HIV/AIDS transmission there. This paper explores the major transmission modes of HIV/ AIDS in the PRC, particularly in Henan, how the 'blood heads' have caused possibly millions of rural poor to contract the virus, as well as the controversial role that the government has played in the epidemic and the resultant cover-up. While initially very little was known about Henan's AIDS epidemic, official 'leaks', testimonies by AIDS activists and doctors in the region, and growing pressure from international groups has drawn much attention to the province's AIDS crisis. While the increased attention by the Chinese Ministry of Health into health crises after the SARS outbreak in 2003 offered the promise of a more transparent handling of epidemics in the PRC, it remains to be seen whether the lessons learned from SARS will truly be implemented.

Item ID: 38688
Item Type: Article (Non-Refereed Research)
ISSN: 1443-3605
Keywords: Henan, HIV/AIDS, People's Republic of China, blood-selling, bloodheads, HIV transmission
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2009 00:24
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160508 Health Policy @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160606 Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific @ 50%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health @ 50%
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