Chinese State Media Says Aids-Like Disease is in the Head

18 April, 2011 at 15:47 | Posted in Body & Mind, China | Leave a comment
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Sufferers say propaganda and cover-up campaign afoot

By Chen Yilian
Times Staff

For the last week the Chinese media has been abuzz with talk of an unknown, highly contagious AIDS-like disease, termed “HIV-negative AIDS,” that has allegedly been spreading in China for several years and infecting thousands. Now official media have stepped in to put the matter to rest: there is no such disease, and people claiming to be sick from it need psychological help.

In a widely circulated statement, Chinese Health Ministry spokesperson Deng Haihua announced on April 4 that “HIV-negative AIDS” is just “AIDS-phobia.” On April 11 he elaborated, saying that “there is no so-called phrase ‘HIV-negative AIDS’, and there is no such ‘HIV-negative AIDS’ virus.”

A volley of official propaganda came around the same time: 10 and 12 minute video programs by Xinhua and the People’s Daily aiming to debunk the claims, a series of reports and opinion articles warning against “AIDS-phobia,” and a troupe of experts, some of whom were simply government officials, calling for people with the condition to stop listening to the Hong Kong media reports and seek counseling for their psychological problems.

People who suffer from what they regard as the unidentified illness with debilitating AIDS-like symptoms have spoken out against the official statements and demanded clarification from the Health Ministry; they have also been turning to the media and health experts for help.

Symptoms of the alleged illness include swollen lymph glands, blood under the skin, moss on the tongue, aching joints and more.

Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily and Ming Pao have produced extensive reports on sufferers and their ailments, and have alleged that several thousand people in six provinces have been infected.

Patients say they have been intimidated by health officials and told not to speak about it, and some were given the diagnosis of “mental illness” for their complaints.

Read more: Chinese State Media Says Aids-Like Disease is in the Head | China | Epoch Times


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