STORY HIGHLIGHTS


We are together:Chinese doctor committed to HIV/AIDS treatment

CNC
Added On December 2, 2017

The number of people in China tested for HIV/AIDS every year has nearly quadrupled over the past decade.
 
But it remains a challenge to reach the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status.
 
A Chinese doctor working on the frontline of HIV/AIDS shares her story. 
 
Wang Chunmei became a physician specializing in HIV/AIDS in July, 2013. She is with Jinan Infectious Diseases Hospital in east China's Jinan city.
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): WANG Chunmei, Aids Doctor Ů
"People always say that we are the ones who fight the devil, but it is not so terrible to face AIDS. AIDS patients are always very nervous at the beginning. I once got a phone call from a patient at midnight. I thought it must be an emergency. But when I picked up the phone and asked what happened, he said, 'I just want to know what you're doing and I hope that you can stay with me.'"
 
Wang recalled that she, too, was scared when turning to focusing on AIDS treatment at first.
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): WANG Chunmei, Aids Doctor Ů
"I felt so nervous the first time my patients wanted to hug me. When I was invited to a dinner by an AIDS patient for the first time, I refused and we were in a stalemate right away. He said, 'you discriminated against AIDS people if you refused my invitation.' So I accepted and we split the bill for the dinner."
 
A month into her career as an AIDS doctor, Wang created an online chat group named "we are together." She hoped that it could help improve understanding between doctors and patients. 
 
Occupational Exposure poses a big risk to AIDS doctors. Wang has been exposed to HIV three times at work during the last four years.
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): WANG Chunmei, Aids Doctor Ů
"Once I gave an injection to a patient, but the needle stuck in my hand accidentally. I took blocking drugs immediately and avoided being infected. When I told my family what happened, I felt really bad and cried at that moment."
"There was a mother infected with HIV/AIDS because of drug abuse. She lost all hope in life. But she has delivered a healthy baby with medical intervention. I was so excited that I cried. I drove to the suburb on my own, laid on the grass and cried out. I thought it was worth it."
 
In the eyes of patients, Wang is like a family member.
 
SOUNDBITE (Chinese): WANG CHUNMEI, AIDS doctor
"My patients gave me many names. Some call me sister or mother."
 
"I want to tell all AIDS patients that each of you will go through pains. But I hope that none of you will pass on the suffering. Let the virus stop here."
According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the country recorded nearly 750,000 people with HIV as of September and more than 100,000 of them were reported in the first nine months of this year. 
 
As of the end of June, over 540,000 HIV-positive people had received medical treatment.