AHF Honors the Memory of Chinese Activist-Clinician Dr. Gao

In Global Advocacy, Global Featured, News by Brian Shepherd

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today commemorated the life and work of Chinese HIV/AIDS clinician and advocate Dr. Gao Yaojie, who brought to light the HIV epidemic in rural China caused by tainted blood supplies in the 1990s. Dr. Gao died at her home in New York on Dec. 10 at the age of 95.

“Dr. Gao courageously refused to be silenced when she discovered that thousands of people in rural China had acquired HIV through unsanitary blood-selling schemes. Despite travel restrictions, home arrests, and political pressure, she continued to care for the sick – and fed and clothed the many orphans left behind by the epidemic,” said AHF Director of Global Advocacy and Policy Guillermina Alaniz. “Dr. Gao put everything on the line in the name of her professional oath and humanity, and for that—history will place her among the heroes of the global AIDS struggle. We salute and honor Dr. Gao’s memory.”

Dr. Gao became China’s most well-known AIDS activist and was recognized internationally for her work, receiving awards from the United Nations and the United States. She studied medicine at a university in Henan and later worked as a traveling gynecologist in rural China. Dr. Gao met her first HIV patient in 1996 – a woman who acquired the virus from a transfusion during an operation. In 2009, facing increasing government pressure, Dr. Gao resettled in self-exile in Manhattan, New York.

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