'Negative Aids' leaves mainland sufferers, officials in the dark
Health authorities have denied media reports of a mysterious virus that causes Aids-like symptoms, saying there is no medical evidence to suggest the patients are suffering from any infectious diseases.
The Health Ministry dismissed claims that many people across the mainland were suffering from symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, bleeding under the skin, rashes, sweating and aching joints. Repeated HIV tests on the patients had proved negative, prompting some to say they are suffering from 'negative Aids'.
One man told the New Express newspaper that his mother had been experiencing numbness in her limbs, rashes and aching joints since a blood transfusion three years ago.
He had contracted the same mysterious disease after coming into contact with her blood in an accident. He had lost 30kg in six months and often vomited after eating. His wife and son later complained of the same symptoms but doctors could not tell what was wrong with them. Another man, from Guangzhou, said he developed a cold, followed by aching joints and hair loss, three days after he had a one-night stand with someone he had met on the internet.
A 32-year-old man from Shenzhen said he felt pain all over his body after casual sex and his 'muscles seemed to be melting slowly'. But mainland Aids experts, after two rounds of study, believed they were not suffering from the disease.
'The experts from the ministry concluded that the group of people had not contracted HIV and there is no evidence showing the disease they claim to be suffering from is contagious. There is no clinical or laboratory evidence to support that the group is suffering a contagious disease,' the ministry's spokesman, Deng Haihua, stated.
The ministry started to receive inquiries on the matter in June 2009 but could not conduct research because they were anonymous. The China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention established contact with the group of people on the internet from September 2009 to January last year and conducted the first round of research among 59 volunteers.
They tested negative for HIV and another virus that might cause fatigue, Deng said.
The centre's findings were not accepted by the 59 volunteers. The centre sent their blood samples to a laboratory in the United States for testing, which confirmed they had not contracted HIV either, Deng said.
The ministry ordered Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Hunan and Guangdong to study the problem in February and March, which covered 40 people, including 15 who took part in the first round of research.
Results of the blood test were basically normal, there was no indication of any sign of contagious disease and the immune systems were normal. The authorities did not find pathological changes relevant to contagious disease and the symptoms did not correspond to the doctors' examinations.