December 05, 2005

You are on the invidual archive page of China AIDS count. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
China AIDS count

About a month ago I noted a report that found China's estimated HIV population may be signficantly lower than the previously estimated 840,000. Now the SCMP reports on the problems officials are having with releasing that number:

Authorities are reportedly in a bind over how to announce a new and supposedly more accurate HIV estimate that is significantly lower than previous figures...Senior officials said the assessment was now being verified by the World Health Organisation and UNAids experts. However, UNAids said it was waiting for Chinese officials to finalise the assessment...

A government source also said the new assessment was significantly lower than the 2003 estimate of 840,000 HIV carriers. Although the final figure may change at the last minute, the new estimate could be up to 20 per cent lower than the original figure...

Government officials are reportedly concerned that the public would doubt the credibility of a new estimate, and question whether the difference was the result of patients dying from Aids over the years, or whether the government was playing down the gravity of the situation. Another worry is whether a lower-than-expected prevalence would dampen the enthusiasm of the central government and international agencies for injecting resources into Aids prevention and treatment.

It's great news, but a problem of the government's own making. Events as recent as last week in Harbin show the Chinese government is not known for its openness and reliability when it comes to reporting. Getting international, independent groups to verify the data is a good first step. Even if the number comes out 20% lower, however, there is still plenty to worry about. Good statistical measurement is only the first step in dealing with disease outbreaks. Even with 600,000 people infected, the major worry is the potential is further infections.

posted by Simon on 12.05.05 at 08:53 AM in the China food/environment/health category.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.


Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?