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China hospital refuses to treat beaten woman with HIV

Posted by Author on July 15, 2010

AFP, July 15, 2010 –

BEIJING — A Chinese hospital refused to treat a migrant worker seriously injured in a wage dispute after doctors found out the woman was HIV-positive, her co-worker said Friday.

Li Na, 37, was beaten up Monday when she and fellow workers at a construction site in the Inner Mongolia region asked their company for their unpaid wages, and was sent to hospital, Wu Jibiao told AFP.

“She was badly hit five to six times and she was spitting blood, but when doctors did some tests and found out she was HIV-positive, they refused to treat her,” he said.

“They didn’t give her a room either and our company said they would not pay us if she didn’t leave (hospital), so she eventually had to go. But she’s still spitting blood now, her blood pressure is sky high and she can’t walk.”

Wu said doctors told Li’s co-workers that she was HIV-positive — a sensitive issue in China where people with HIV/AIDS still encounter huge discrimination.

“Now she doesn’t want to live because her co-workers don’t want to talk to her, they all look down on her now,” he said.

The People’s Hospital of Dalate Qi, where Li was sent, and local police were not immediately available for comment. Li was also unavailable to speak to reporters.

According to Wu, Li contracted HIV more than 10 years ago when she gave blood in the central province of Henan, her home region.

Henan was the scene of a huge scandal in the 1990s when people were infected by HIV after repeatedly selling their blood to collection stations that pooled it into a tub and then injected it back into them after taking the plasma.

The blood-selling scandal, which was initially covered up by local officials, saw entire villages in Henan devastated by AIDS.

China says that at least 740,000 people are living with HIV, but campaigners say the actual figure could be far higher.

AFP

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