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The arrest last month of a prominent Chinese AIDS activist Wan Yanhai — best known for his harsh critique of the government's response to AIDS — has cast a spotlight on China's handling of its growing HIV problem.

There has been no official announcement that Wan is being detained. But members of his Beijing-based group, the AIDS Action Project, were reportedly contacted last week by state security agents who indicated that Wan is being questioned about the contents of an e-mail he sent to a mailing list.

Wan's apparent arrest undermines some recent positive trends in Chinese AIDS policy, including recognition that blood donors have been infected through transfusions, and acknowledgement that China needs more international assistance in combating the problem.
Last week China's health ministry admitted that the number of people in the country infected with HIV could reach one million by the end of this year.

Link to full Nature news article

Reference: Nature 419, 99 (2002)

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