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A doctor's fight against AIDS in China's remote village

12-02-2010 08:50 BJT Special Report:World AIDS Day |

KUNMING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Yin Zuluan's family thought she was quite stubborn as she refused to consider their repeated suggestions to quit her job as a doctor in a remote village in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

For more than 14 years, Yin has been spending most of her time in Guangsong Village, Dehong Prefecture, visiting her HIV-positive patients and raising the awareness of the villagers about how to control the deadly virus. The village borders the Golden Triangle, an area where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet, and where vast fields of poppies grow as ingredients for heroin-based drugs.

"Because of the uncontrollable drug abuse, many drug addicts have been infected with HIV, and many children have been orphaned as their parents died of AIDS. They need me," Yin told Xinhua.

Among the 3,000 villagers in the village, 76 have been tested HIV-positive, with another five percent still refusing to receive HIV tests, she said.

Not only the village, the virus has now found its way across China. According to the country's Ministry of Health (MOH), since the 1980s when the disease first emerged in the country, the total registered AIDS patients and HIV carriers have surpassed 370,000, with more than 130,000 being AIDS patients.

In 2004, Guangsong Village was selected for a pilot program, and Yin's job was to perform HIV tests on each villager and help with interventions to prevent others from becoming infected. The job was never easy.

"Many villagers could not understand us when we first started testing. They threatened us with long knives, and even let out their dogs to attack us when I came," Yin recalled.

"I just went and went and went," she said. "For 17 times I went in one case."

After her continuous efforts and government support, the villagers gradually changed their attitudes and even made friends with her, she said.


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