Memoirs of Dr. Gao Yaojie

Sample translated by Violet Law

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IN THE 1980s, when I heard of AIDS, I mistook it for the exclusive domain of drug addicts and the promiscuous, because that was what the media and the government reported. But facts on the ground would soon change my view of how AIDS was being transmitted in China.

Sometime during the mid-1990s, I began to run into patients who had contracted AIDS through blood transfusions.

They were all innocent women. I was stunned. When I came into contact with even more HIV carriers and Aids patients, I realized this was in fact a nationwide epidemic.

As a doctor I couldn’t turn a blind eye; I had a responsibility to do all I could to prevent this epidemic from spreading. However, at the time, I was unaware of the unfathomable forces underlying the widespread transmission of HIV. Had I known, I might not have been able to muster the courage. It’s been 12 years since I threw myself into this work and since then I’ve been on a treacherous path to raise the awareness of people both in and outside the country…

[Originally published in the South China Morning Post magazine]

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