Reuters (09.06.07) - Wednesday, September 12, 2007
A decade after hundreds of thousands of farmers in central
Henan were infected with HIV at unsanitary, often state-run
blood-buying clinics, China's blood supply is still not safe,
a new report finds.
Though the government has worked to improve HIV/AIDS
monitoring of the country's blood supply, earlier this summer
then-Health Minister Gao Qiang acknowledged in a speech that
safety concerns over the collection system remained. In June,
food and drug regulators discovered fake plasma being used at
around 18 hospitals in northeastern China.
"The demand for blood and blood products is growing in China,
and supply is short," said Sara Davis, director of Asia
Catalyst and co-author of the organization's report. "This
creates an economic incentive for hospitals to rely on
illegal, untested blood donations, and that fuels the spread
"Today, China's blood supply remains dangerously unsafe," the
report said. "Around the country, patients who check into
hospitals for routine surgery may check out with HIV/AIDS as a
result of hospital blood transfusions."
Davis acknowledged China is not alone in grappling with the
issue. Countries such as Japan and France have dealt with
problems of HIV transmission through blood transfusions,
though they have taken effective measures to ensure no repeat
of past scandal. This is not the case in China.
"In China, where the AIDS blood transmission outbreak in some
provinces dwarfs those of Japan and France., health officials
who acted negligently or criminally while directly profiting
from the causes of the blood scandal have rarely been held
personally accountable," the report noted.