China: Yaojie Gao

My efforts are just a glass of water to quench a fire on a carload of wood. I wish I could move kind-hearted people to extend sympathy and help to Aids patients and especially Aids orphans."

— Yaojie Gao

Doctor Gao Yaojie has made Aids prevention her life's work. She has revealed the severity of Aids infection through medical sources, using her own money to print more than 770,000 pamphlets on preventing and treating Aids, and distributing these to Aids-stricken areas for free. She has also sponsored Aids patients and orphans with a sum totaling one million yuan.

Gao Yaojie, aged 78, is a retired gynecologist and professor of the Henan College of Chinese Traditional Medicine. She is known as "the first person in Chinese civil society for Aids prevention". After 1996, when Gao uncovered cases of HIV infection through blood transfusion, she visited over 100 villages, and interviewed thousands of HIV-positive people and Aids patients. She revealed the severity of Aids infection through medical channels. She began by using her own pension in the campaign against Aids, and soon set up a major resource center in Henan Province for treating and preventing Aids. Gao was alarmed to learn of the sale of infected blood. "Our blood in the blood bank is not safe! Others must also be infected. As a doctor, medical professor and people's representative, I am obliged to tell people to act and prevent Aids." She started to edit and print Aids prevention materials. She has published books including "Preventing and Treating Aids and Venereal Diseases (VD)", "Ten Thousand Letters: What I Witnessed about the Lives of Aids and VD Patients", and "Survey of Aids in China". These she distributed to Aids-stricken areas for free. Every year, she gives 30 to 70 lectures on health knowledge. Since 1996, Aids has featured in her lectures, and she has distributed materials on preventing it. Gao has faced many challenges from officials, her family and society. She was threatened for exposing the dangers of fake doctors, fake medicines and Aids. With her tireless efforts, she has uncovered cases of Aids infection from selling blood in Henan Province, and exposed the misery and suffering of Aids orphans ensuring that the public has some understanding of the discrimination they face. Her work has inspired many people in China and overseas.