Chinese health officials this week began distributing anti-HIV medications through pilot programs in 51 counties in China to treat rural residents who contracted HIV through unsafe blood collection practices, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. More than 1 million Chinese citizens were infected with HIV by blood brokers who collected blood with dirty needles, removed the usable plasma, pooled the remaining blood products, and injected the products back into the donors so that they could more quickly recover and donate again.
China launched the treatment programs in part through a $98 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Much of the grant is being used to train doctors in rural areas to treat HIV-positive people. Chinese officials hope to have drug distribution programs in place in 100 counties by the end of the year.