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AIDS Medicine Issues in China

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AIDS Medicine Issues in China
The spreading of AIDS has been a concern of the Chinese government, non-governmental organizations and the international community. Based on the experience of governmental and non-governmental organizations that provide assistance to AIDS patients in China, the "cocktail therapy" is fairly effective, but costly.
* 鸡尾酒疗法年度费用三万 *
* Cocktail Therapy Costs RMB30,000 Annually *
The "cocktail therapy," which is a mix of multiple medicines invented by a Chinese American, Dr. David Da-I Ho, has been one of the medications provided by the Chinese government for AIDS patients in Henan Province and other areas where the AIDS epidemic is rampant. It is considered the most effective antidote to AIDS currently available, but is very expensive. It used to cost RMB100,000 (approximately US$12,200) per year, but has now dropped to RMB30,000.
* 两百多人自费服用 *
* More Than Two Hundred People Took the Medicine at Their Own Expense *
Wan Yanhai, coordinator of the AIZHI Action Project in Beijing, said Dr. Ho created the integrated medication, i.e., the so-called "cocktail therapy," to cope with the damage caused by AIDS. Numerous dying patients who took the "cocktail" have restored their health, regained physical strength, and reclaimed normal daily lives. But the "cocktail" is very special and very expensive. In 2001, there were a little over two hundred people in all of China who took the medicine at their own expense.
* 中药疗效有待证明 *
* Effectiveness of Chinese Medicines Awaits Proof *
Dr. Ho's contributions to the prevention and treatment of AIDS are well known throughout the world. He was Times Magazine's Man of the Year in 1996 and the winner of the Presidential Citizen's Medal in 2001. Dr. Ho mentioned that Chinese medicines, as some have claimed, might be effective in curing AIDS, but are yet to be proved with factual data. He said, "Speaking of traditional Chinese medicines, there are plenty of claims for their effectiveness in treating AIDS, but lack of data (as a proof). I believe that some natural ingredients in Chinese medicines may have some curative effects, but they have not been validated through systematic processes of trial and experiment. We must acquire evidence in order to prove that Chinese medicines are very effective, but at this time we don't have any."
* 仿制药副作用 *
* Side Effects of Imitation Medicines *
According to Wan Yanhai, coordinator of Beijing's AIZHI Action Project, although the "cocktail therapy" is very expensive, it is still the most effective prescription. Some Chinese AIDS patients have suffered from severe side effects after taking imitation "cocktails." He said that imitation medicines probably have not gone through clinical experiments and have caused a series of problems after being put in use. Based on what we have learned, in many rural areas where imitation "cocktails" are accepted, 70-80% of the patients have voluntarily stopped the therapy due to the serious side effects – toxic side effects.
Comparatively speaking, Chinese people's knowledge about ADIS is by and large more advanced than [it was] a year or two ago. Mrs. Meng, an intellectual, believes that superstitions and misinformation are a problem. She said, "I think that medical knowledge is not widespread enough. We haven't employed a thorough and highly popular approach to helping people become aware of the cause of the AIDS epidemic. I believe that the Chinese people are still lacking sufficient medical knowledge and are easily influenced by misleading information and superstitions."