By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com September 06 2003 12:00 AM ET
Human Rights Watch, a New York-based human rights advocacy group, on Wednesday called for the Chinese government to launch a full investigation into the blood collection practices that resulted in possibly millions of HIV infections in the 1990s, Agence France-Presse reports. If the Chinese government refuses, the United Nations should conduct its own investigation, the group says in a 94-page report. Citing Chinese government documents, the report says that HIV prevalence rates in some areas of China where unsafe blood collection practices exposed millions to HIV range from 4% to 40%. More than 420 million people live in the seven Chinese provinces most involved in the blood trade. "This suggests that the number of persons with HIV is much higher than the 1 million cases that Beijing officially acknowledges," stated the report, titled "Locked Doors: The Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS in China."
The report also says the spread of HIV is being fueled by government-tolerated discrimination of HIV-positive people, including local laws that bar those infected with the virus from several public sector jobs. Many HIV-positive people in the nation also have no access to sophisticated medical care, putting them at high risk for developing AIDS-related complications or dying from the disease.