The World Health Organization issued a call to action to China Monday over HIV/AIDS as government figures said nearly half a million people are living with the disease or its precursor, with hundreds of thousands more thought to be undiagnosed. Bernhard Schwartlaender, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, wrote in an op-ed in the state-run China Daily newspaper that “there is much more China needs to do” to prevent infection and better help those living with HIV. More than a quarter of a million HIV-positive people are currently on antiretroviral treatment in China, UNAIDS China director Catherine Sozi wrote in a China Daily op-ed on Saturday.
[China] needs to increasingly go beyond its initial success in the roll-out of large-scale HIV programmes and focus on how to reach people who are currently falling through the cracks.
Bernhard Schwartlaender, the World Health Organization’s representative in China
China’s National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention last year estimated that as many as 810,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country, including those who have not yet been diagnosed, out of a total population of 1.36 billion. That is a far lower proportion than India, where UNAIDS says there are more than two million people living with HIV, in a slighter smaller total population — although UNAIDS does not give figures for China.
I’ve seen some of my own colleagues in the medical profession turn patients away because they disapproved of the person’s sexual orientation.