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2005-07-28-How Chinese AIDS Advocate Raising HIV/AIDS Awareness, Caring for Orphans
NPR's... "All Things Considered" on Tuesday in the second part of a series on the development of individualism in China examined the work of Chinese HIV/AIDS advocate Li Dan. Some experts credit advocates such as Li with raising HIV/AIDS awareness in the country, which has "dramatically" changed its AIDS policies within the last year.
Li said he first became aware of HIV/AIDS after viewing the 1998 movie "Philadelphia," starring Tom Hanks, and said he was compelled to work on HIV/AIDS after witnessing the effects of the disease in Henan province, where many of the farmers in the early- and mid-1990s contracted the virus through unsafe blood collection procedures. "I realized there was a group of people being ostracized by society because of this disease.
It was pure youthful idealism on my part. I just wanted to do something to help them," Li said. Li, who has been detained and beaten by local police for his involvement in HIV/AIDS advocacy, recently established the Orchid Culture Communications Center, a nongovernmental organization assisting children in the province who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes (Gifford, "All Things Considered," NPR, 7/26).
The Chinese government estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people in the country and that 80,000 of those people have AIDS. However, international experts and advocates say that the actual number of HIV-positive people in China probably is between one million and 1.5 million. UNAIDS has said that the number of HIV-positive people living in China could increase to 10 million by 2010 unless steps are taken to address the epidemic (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/15).