A study funded by China’s National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention found that those infected with HIV through drug use or sex, are more than twice as likely to die than those who got the virus from a blood transfusion. To be exact, 6.7 out of a 100 people infected by blood transfusions die, compared to 15.9 deaths for drug users and 17.5 for those infected through sex.
Because there is still a huge stigma attached to having AIDS, those infected are routinely denied medical treatments and face discrimination:
One HIV-positive man, talking at a news conference to unveil the report, recounted how he was denied medical treatment for his back problem because of his HIV status in hospitals in Tianjin and Beijing.
“The doctor said at our hospital, many patients need surgery, and if other patients get infected, it will be a very bad thing,” said the man, who declined to be identified.
“At the second hospital … the doctor told me: ‘I sympathize with your suffering but because of your status, I dare not operate on you’,” said the man, who is a farmer from Tianjin and added he was forced to leave his job in a steel firm after his boss discovered he had HIV.
“I’ve visited many other hospitals and encountered similar denials and excuses such as a lack of equipment.”
The study also found that many are too scared to admit to having the disease and thus miss out on having the free treatment they would get under government laws. As the research proclaimed, it is people belonging to marginal groups such as drug users, prostitutes, gay and bisexual men, ethnic minorities, migrants and the elderly who are most likely not to get the treatment.
The good news is, since offering HIV treatment for free in 2002 and various AIDS awareness programs, the number of people dying from the virus fell by almost two thirds. More specifically, AIDS mortality dropped to 14.2 per 100 person-years in 2009, from 39.3 in 2002.
By Nele Diels