Related Links

International Cooperation


Let Infection Be Ceased in Me

——Record on the winter jasmine mutual aid group of Wenxi County of Shanxi Province

Shanxi Wenxi County Center for Diseases Prevention and Control

In July of 2003, the mutual aid group of people living with HIV/AIDS in Wenxi County—’winter jasmine’ was formally established. The founder of the ‘winter jasmine’ W ever spoke out the words of ‘Let infection be ceased in me’ in one speech, manifesting the strong sense of social responsibility of not being reconciled to the downfall of PLWHs and their resolution of jointly controlling the AIDS with the whole society. Under his leadership, the ‘winter jasmine’ group coordinated with the local health bureau and the Center for Diseases Prevention and Control to undertake a large quantity work of HIV/AIDS prevention, including various fields of advocacy education, care support, behavior intervention, dosing supervision, self-support through production, which got favorable social effects.
—— Editor

Wenxi County of Shanxi province is a traditional agricultural county, before 1990s the peasants of many villages had the experience of selling blood.

In 1996, the first HIV infection was found in Wenxi County, afterwards, the HIV infected cases were found among previous bllod doners in succession. In September of 1998, under the coordination of Shanxi Sanitary and Antiepidemic Station, the health bureau and sanitary and disease prevention station of Wenxi County mobilized the PLWHs from house to house and persuaded 8 patients to go to Beijing Ditan Hospital to receive free Chinese traditional treatment for six months. Among those who received the treatment, there was a man named W, and the story of the winter jasmine mutual aid group should be started from him.

W, over 30 years old, had a very happy family. On August 28, 1998, W was riding a bike to hurry forward his home from a glassware factory after a busy and tired day. When he was on his midway, a white ambulance gradually in front of him, where went off the Station Master Zhao and Deputy Station Master Ma. The Station Master Zhao said to W, ‘We were going to your home, but taking the impact into account, I think it is better to meet you alone. We have got the laboratory report of blood sampling for the last time and you are confirmed as HIV positve, you have to prepared for it.’

Hearing the words of ‘AIDS’, W’s brain went blank and he fell onto the ground. He had no courage to go home, he thought he could not face his old parents and his kind wife, even could not face his three innocent kids. In the dark night, he sat in the wild waste hill for a whole night.

One month later, the Station Master of the prefectural sanitary and antiepidemic station found W again and told him that there would be 8 patients be able to go to Beijing Ditan Hospital to receive the free treatment and he was one of them.

Those 8 people of W alike took the train to Beijing with the complex feelings. When arrived at the Beijing Station, they were sent to Ditan Hospital to receive the treatment and participate in the founding ceremony of Home of Red Ribbon of Ditan Hospital. Since then the home of red ribbon became the site for them to participate in the activities. In the home of red ribbon, they learnt a lot basic information about AIDS and got a further understanding about AIDS, thus eliminating the fears toward ADIS, gradually going out from the shadow of pessimistic, passive and despairing emotions and regaining the confidence to life. After six months’ treatment, the spirit of these 8 persons got great changes, and the weight of W increased over 5kg than before.

Among these 8 persons, W had ever got more education and was also a smart man, thus mastering more information about the HIV/AIDS prevention and control. When he came back to Wenxi, he actively acted as the person to educate the peers and voluntarily disseminate the knowledge about HIV/AIDS prevention and control with his own example to improve the understanding of the publics about AIDS. He tried his best to win the support of government sectors in all levels, actively initiated the self-support through production and organized more HIV infected peoples/ AIDS patients to actively participate in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
In August 2000, the first home of rural AIDS patients of the country—’Warm Home’ was established in Wenxi County. There were lots of the advocacy posters with both excellent pictures and texts about the HIV/AIDS prevention and control stuck to the wall of the ‘Warm Home’, which also provided the PLWHs with the TV set, VCD, chess and so on for recreation. It gradually became the site for PLWHs to learn from each other, communicate with each other and poured out their complaints. The work of ‘Warm Home’ was fully affirmed by the Health Bureau.

W was unlucky, but he was meanwhile a lucky person. He was one of the patients who firstly received the national free ARV treatment in Wenxi County; he attended the first conference on STIs and HIV/AIDS prevention and control of China and made a speech to the participants; during the period of receiving treatment in the ‘Loving Home’ of Beijing YouAn Hospital, he got to know lots of experts in China Center for Diseases Prevention and Control and got help from them; he had ever participated in the nationwide training course and experience exchange meetings for several times, therefore, his knowledge on HIV/AIDS prevention and control was constantly fulfilled and improved, and he also leant the home-based nursing. On November 30, 2004, the Chairman of the PRC Hu Jintao kindly received W when he went to Beijing YouAn Hospital to visit the AIDS patients, and wrote the words in his own handwriting: ‘May you recover soon’.

The work of W got more and more awareness from the society and won many trust of the PLWHs of Wenxi County, therefore, more and more infected people got together around him. Since then, he became the leader of PLWHs and conducted the work of HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the form of group. Many hands made light work, they jointly negotiate about the problems and solved them with each other, just as the winter jasmine in the hills, though the withes of which were very long, they were closely contiguous to each other without any fear to the sand blown by wind and the storm to make a good fight and greet the approaching of the spring with the aroma of the flowers.

In July of 2003, with the help of China STIs and HIV/AIDS prevention and control Association, the HIV infected peoples of Wenxi County established a mutual aid group comprising of 7 infected patients, which was funded by the UNDP and formally named as ‘Winter Jasmine’.

   Went to PLWHs’ home to advocate

With the initiation of CIPRA and the project of demonstration plot of AIDS integrated prevention and control of the country in Wenxi County, the general HIV screening among the population of former bllod doners in the whole county was carried out in all-round way in 2003~2004, and the reported figure of PLWHs in Wenxi County rapidly increased to over 300 from over 100 in the past. In order to more effectively prevent and control the spread of AIDS, the winter jasmine mutual aid group coordinated with the prefectural health bureau and the Prefectural Center for Diseases Prevention and Control to actively set about the work of psychological care to the newly-found HIV infected people, further inquired about the basic situation of each family and actively advocate the national policy of ‘Four Frees and One Care’. The 7 members of the winter jasmine mutual aid group divided the areas by the locations of their residence and got contact with the more than 300 PLWHs nearby as well as coordinated with the Health Bureau to launch the work. After knowing about the situation of PLWHs, the members of the mutual aid group actively organized PLWHs and their family members to receive training on relevant information about AIDS; distributed the condoms to PLWHs free of charge and instructed them about how to appropriately use condoms; actively contacted with the relevant sectors and won the livelihood subsidy of 130 Yuan per month for 46 children in the households of PLWHs in poverty; coordinated the severe patients to go to the hospital, and 17 patients were introduced to receive the hospitalized treatment in Beijing You’an Hospital by the mutual aid group; supervised 79 patients who received the ARV treatment to dose on schedule; tried to make 30 patients who did not receive the free antiviral medicine treatment to be able to take the free Chinese traditional medicine; on holidays, coordinated with the prefectural health bureau and the Prefectural Center for Diseases Prevention and Control to comfort PLWHs’ households of the county.

Since the foundation of winter jasmine mutual aid group, they had advocated in 500 households, distributed 10000 copies of educational materials, 5000 condoms and the fund of 1000 Yuan for mutual aid, actively strived for the project fund, mutually helped each other and initiated the self-support through production. In November 2004, the chairman of the Red Cross of Yuncheng City and Deputy Mayor Wu Juxian pitched in with 30 thousand Yuan contribution to the winter jasmine mutual aid group to build a cultivation farm with the capability of raising 150 pigs, which was jointly run by 5 households of PLWHs in poverty. China STIs and HIV/AIDS prevention and control Association funded 2,000 Yuan to support 5 AIDS households in poverty to raise sheep.

‘A good rain knows its season and comes when spring arrives’. The work of the winter jasmine mutual aid group was just like manna sprinkling to the heart of every HIV infected peoples in Wenxi County.

After knowing about having got infected with the HIV, L of 33 years old locked himself in the house, unwilling to talk to anybody, lived apart with his wife and did not want to receive the treatment. The members of the winter jasmine mutual aid group used their own experience as the examples to enabled L to pick himself up again to go to the hospital and actively coordinate with the treatment, through which he got well remarkably and was capable of going out for work.

M, male, 28 years old, got infected with HIV because of commercial blood donation, becoming ulcerous all over with constant high temperature. He went to various places to seek for medical advice but no any effect. With the help of the mutual aid group to introduced him to receive the treatment in Beijing YouAn Hospital, his disease got evident medical effect, now he is taking the free antiviral medicine and is capable of working as the other healthy men and contracting a mine for mining.

D, female, 34 years old, because being afraid of being discriminated by the society, she dare not admit that she had got infected with the HIV. The ‘winter jasmine’ mutual aid group went to her home to advocate the information on HIV/AIDS prevention and control for five times, while the members were expelled from her house by her husband without any explanation. ‘Faith will move mountain’, D was finally moved by the true feeling of the mutual aid group. After receiving the trainings, she correctly understood the AIDS and knew that using condoms could effectively interrupt the spread of the HIV. With the condoms, her husband was not got infected with the HIV, so the whole family of hers greatly appreciated the ‘winter jasmine’ mutual aid group.

Under the instruction of the prefectural health bureau and the Prefectural Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, the winter jasmine mutual aid group decided to build 6 mutual aid groups dividing by the areas, and now Nanheng Mutual Aid Group of Wenxi County has been established. They determined to bring all of these over 300 infected patients of the county into the mutual aid group to help and care each other. Their slogan was ‘self-confidence, self-respect, self-reliance and independence’, as well as ‘to relieve the burden of the government and share the worry of the country’.

In a speech with invitation in Tsingdao, W came to the stage and spoke out the courageous words that ‘let infection be ceased in me’, expressing PLWHs’ resolution of not being reconciled to the downfall when they faced the misfortune. This sentence is a slogan for the PLWHs to participate in HIV/AIDS prevention and control and represents the confidence and resolution of PLWHs to fight against the AIDS. We hold a belief that the winter jasmine group will do a better and better job and the winter jasmine will bloom more and more beautifully.
(Jia Wangqian, Xu Xiaobing)