It seems that the Chinese government learned at least one memorable lesson from the 2003 SARS episode: epidemics are really messy affairs, and no good for tax receipts.
These days it seems a new plague is on the upswing, one characterized by apparent immune system deficiencies reminiscent of AIDS. Annoyingly, the sufferers are unable to pass the AIDS test, thus disqualifying them from the government treatment programs reserved for AIDS victims.
Despite at least 8 years of history with the phenomenon, the official position of government ‘health’ agencies is that the sufferers are hypochondriacs longing to join in the privileged circle of AIDS sufferers. Hence the official name for the condition ‘恐艾症’ (‘kǒngaìzhèng’, Fear of AIDS Condition).
Symptoms of this fear include:
– severe skin rashes
– creaky joints
– swollen lymph nodes
– skin dryness, and in advanced stages turning black
– various opportunistic diseases
– mouth sores & infections
– thick white deposits on tongue
– receding gums and mouth bleeding
– incessant low fever
– low CD4 levels, similar to those in AIDS sufferers (often 300 or less, as opposed to the normal range of 500-1000)
According to sufferer accounts, the disease is very contagious, though only via bodily fluids. Some see parallels with the so-called ‘Chronic Fatigue Sydrome‘ (CFS) – aka ‘Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome’ (CFIDS) – though symptoms seem to differ in some significant ways.
Recently sufferers have banded together via QQ groups to provide mutual support – and in some cases coordinate their next moves to prompt government action. One of the leading members of this movement tells part of his 8-year story here: http://blog.sina.com.cn./s/blog_64b6b1750100nvvp.html.
See also – parallel tales of CFS sufferers’ struggle for attention:
- The CFS research funds fraud at the Atlanta CDC (Walter Gunn story):
- CFS Links: http://www.cfscentral.com/
- Symptoms according to cfids.org: http://www.cfids.org/about-cfids/symptoms.asp
- Some early CFS history, overlap with fibromyalgia: