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China’s exiled AIDS activist Gao Yaojie passes away in New York at 95

Renowned Chinese Aids advocate and former gynaecologist, Gao Yaojie, passed away in New York City at the age of 95. Despite her declining health, her last years in New York were dedicated to writing books about China’s handling of the Aids crisis. Gao’s Aids advocacy started in 1996, after her retirement, when she discovered that Aids could be transmitted through blood transfusions. In the 1990s, she campaigned tirelessly in Henan, where an illegal blood collection industry led to an Aids epidemic. She spent her own money on educational campaigns and supported Aids patients and orphans, earning international recognition but also estranging her family. Her controversial work led her to leave China for the US in 2009, where she continued to write books with the support of private donations and a visiting scholarship from Columbia University. Gao’s impactful work was memorialized by the legacy left behind through her contributed writings, which served to educate and draw attention to the urgency of dealing with HIV-Aids in China.

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