China / Cover Story

Clinic on frontier of AIDS care

By Shan Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-10 10:09

Clinic on frontier of AIDS care
Drug users from Myanmar regularly collect doses of methadone from the Better Clinic in Ruili, Yunnan province.[Photo by Jiang Dong / China Daily]

Clinic on frontier of AIDS care provides medicine for Chinese, needy across border in Myanmar, reports Shan Juan in Ruili, Yunnan province.

Every third month, A Yu (not her real name) an ethnic Chinese from Myanmar who has full-blown AIDS, drives for 45 minutes to visit a clinic in Ruili, Yunnan province, where she replenishes her supply of medicine and undergoes medical checkups.

The neatly dressed 33-year-old contracted the disease from her late husband, who died of AIDS in 2004, and she has been receiving free antiviral medication at the Better Clinic on Guomen Street, Ruili, Yunnan province, for seven months.

Ruili, a county-level city in Yunnan's Dehong prefecture, is a major crossing point between China and Myanmar and sits directly opposite the town of Muse on the other side of the border.

A Yu pays a toll of 2 yuan (32 cents) every time she enters China via the Ruili checkpoint. "The free treatment really helps because I can't afford to see the private doctor in Myanmar anymore. That costs 2,000 to 3,000 yuan a month. The staff members treat me well, so I'll continue to get my medication here," she said, speaking on the condition that her real name would not be used.

She's one of 47 AIDS patients from Myanmar being treated at the Better Clinic. The three-room clinic, on the second floor of the Guomen Community Health Center, employs five staff members; two doctors; a nurse; a daily operations manager; and a Chinese-Myanmarese interpreter. The walls are painted light blue and decorated with paintings depicting natural scenery, meaning the place looks nothing like a typical Chinese hospital.

Operations manager Ren Guoliang said the clinic is treating 93 HIV patients from Myanmar, and those like A Yu who have full-blown AIDS are receiving antiretroviral treatment. The local health authority pays a subsidy of 20 yuan per patient per month for the follow-up checks, which include tests for CD4 (an indicator of immunity levels) viral load (a measure of the severity of a viral infection), and HIV screening and counseling for patients' partners.

"People from Myanmar get the same service as the 68 Chinese patients at the clinic," Ren said.

Previous Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page

Hot Topics