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Blood donation spree haunts village

2006-07-28 16:06

  Lao Zhu knows the pain of AIDS. Even though he is not an AIDS patient, he has seen people in his Erdaogou Village in Jilin Province literally counting the end of their days on earth.

  These villagers were infected with the deadly disease between 1985 and 1994 when they sold blood to earn money. Experts told them that the incubation period for AIDS is two to 10 years. Even if one counts from 1994, it has been 11 years since.

  Lao Zhu, a pseudonym, is a representative of the AIDS patients in his village and nearby villages because he is educated. He escaped AIDS when he donated blood 10 years ago, but was infected with hepatitis C.

  Lao Zhu has spared no effort in seeking protection for AIDS patients in recent years.

  “I understand you well, life is so precious to human beings……” Xiu Bao, a member of the Jilin Province People's Congress and also the legal adviser of Jilin City government, told the villagers recently. Xiu is a lawyer representing AIDS patients. With Xiu's help, the villagers are now in a position to protect their rights by legal means instead of resorting to other radical activities.

  Lao Zhu recalled that several people in Erdaogou contracted a strange disease in 2001. Some suffered low fever, lack of strength, and weightloss. There were herpes on their faces. Deaths soon followed the syndromes. Some villagers went to the Jilin Disease Protection Center hospital, where doctors noticed a lot of needle holes on their arms and gave them the HIV test. The result was positive.

  More than 10 young people died in Erdaogou, and there were similar cases in nearby villages, sparking panic and concern over the likely cause.

  On June 22, 2003, Lao Zhu's brother-in-law suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with AIDS. The doctors surmised that maybe it was caused by blood selling. It suddenly occurred to Lao Zhu that more than half the villagers had sold their blood before and he voiced these concerns.

  The Jilin City Disease Control Center started a general test for the villagers. When the results were out on July 4, 2003, among the 104 tested, 26 were infected with AIDS and about 90 infected with hepatitis C.

  After recovering from the AIDS panic two months later, villagers began to think about the reason for their disease and they all homed in on the illegal blood collecting events more than 10 years ago.

  Way back in October 1985, villagers, aged between 20 and 60, gave blood to the Shoudeng Blood Collecting Center, jointly set up by Chang-chun Biological Products Institute and Shoudeng Town Clinic.

  Thus blood donation became the second most important means for people to earn money, and now the same villagers are reaping the horrible consequences of their action.

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