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government politicization of aids

government politicization of aids - Jason Meer Biology 46...

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Jason Meer Biology 46 World’s Greatest AIDS Crisis Shifts to Far East Government Actions in China, India Reflect Prejudice, Poverty When Chinese newspapers chronicled the saga of “AIDS Boy” during the summer of 2007, they were not trumpeting the accolades of a politically-incorrectly named Asian superhero. Rather, the moniker referred to an anonymous HIV-positive five-year-old from Guangzhou who had been repeatedly refused treatment for a blocked esophagus because doctors were afraid of contracting the virus. The previous October, Taiwanese officials mandated that HIV-positive residents “threatened the psychological health of neighbors” and should leave their home districts (Human Rights Watch, 2007). Residents of the Western industrialized world might assume that such flagrant Asian human rights violations against people living with HIV and AIDS might be isolated to the rural areas of communist China. However, it is clear that misinformation about the disease on the Asian continent is regrettably more widespread; for instance, five HIV-positive children were barred from school in a small coastal Indian town this past June, and an HIV-positive woman was forced to perform her own abortion in September 2006 when Calcutta hospital officials were too afraid to treat someone with the virus (Human Rights Watch, 2007). That Chinese and Indian government officials, such as government-paid doctors and school administrators, were culpable in these atrocities only further reveals the rampant ignorance of universally-accepted knowledge of HIV transmission in the region. When government officers in China’s Henan province overlooked the reality of blood- borne transmission in the 1990s during blood plasma collections in rural areas, as many as 250,000 donors who had participated to supplement their paltry salaries became
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infected. Provincial officials who had been directly involved in the blood harvesting were not held accountable because the investigation conducted by the central government failed to effectively probe a local institution quite disconnected from its central authority (Cohen, 2004). In reality, the oppression of HIV-positive citizens in China and India is more rooted in false stereotypes of HIV patients and incorrect notions of transmission rather than the malevolent intent suggested by these brutal actions. During the first fifteen years of HIV infections in Asia, the majority of people contracting the disease exhibited “high- risk behaviors” such as injection drug use and prostitution (UNAIDS et al., 2004).
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