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September 7, 2007

A Plasma Predicament

Despite the best efforts of AIDS activist Dr. Gao Yaojie, who discovered that hundreds of thousands of farmers in the central Henan province of China had contracted HIV in the 1990s when they sold blood to unsanitary, often state-run health clinics, China’s blood supply remains unsafe. Reuters reports that hospitals continue to accept and distribute untested and illegal blood donations.

A report issued by Asia Catalyst, a New York-based group that helps non-government organizations in Asia, claims that a rising demand for blood products coupled with a short supply creates an “economic incentive for hospitals to rely on  illegal, untested blood donations that fuels the spread of AIDS.”

An estimated 600,000 people are HIV positive in China; the disease is moving quickly from the population infected through blood donation into the general population. Asia Catalyst’s report suggests that the Chinese government should compensate those infected by the blood supply and  order courts to accept victims’ lawsuits.

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