State dismisses the disease as phobia, but patients are dying
by Chen Yilian & Wei Tuo
Lin Feng of Shanghai, 49, suddenly felt ill in May 2008, saying he suddenly felt his muscles twitching and had severe pain in his internal organs. His ears rang and his joints made a cracking sound. He also suffered from muscae volitantes (where one sees spots), and found that his thymus gland, a vital element of the immune system, had disappeared.Lin checked himself into a hospital for examination and was diagnosed with liver failure, hepatitis B, and herpetic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach caused by the herpes virus). He vomited after each meal. In six months, his weight dropped from 181 to 115 pounds.
After 18 months, Lin said that his internal organs have hardened and he has difficulty walking as his joints crack in pain, his skin feels like fiber, he has lymphatic pain, and the muscles and fat tissues under his skin cause him pain. Even though he takes numerous showers, he said his skin feels sticky and oily no matter what.“I feel I am dying,” he said. He said he has fallen into the depths of despair.
Ping An, a former Chinese military man in his 40s, suddenly felt ill after a reunion with fellow former military men in 2009.
“I have never had a headache or dizziness like that. Next I developed dermatitis and fungus on my skin. The lymph nodes in my jaw were swollen," he said. "I was checked into the hospital five times, but my condition did not improve."
Ping also experienced severe pains in his bones and said some of his internal organs have become hardened.
"I am in pain," he said. "My bones are in pain. My bones crackle. I've developed white tongue fur."
He added that he developed a cardiac tumor, with his skin appearing "purplish." One a day, he says he experiences a minor heart attack and "muscles all over [his] body twitch."
"It is a miracle that I am still alive," he said.
Like these two, hundreds more in China have reported symptoms similar to AIDS, where the immune system fails, but the patients do not test HIV positive. New Epoch Magazine reporters have found dozens of Internet chat groups with dozens to hundreds of members saying that they also suffer from the AIDS-like symptoms.
Most people said they started developing the symptoms after having sex. Lin Feng and Ping An are two thus far who reported having AIDS-like symptoms, but have not had sex.China's Center for Disease Control (CDC) dismissed the patients' claims and classified them as having “HIV-phobia.”According to the CDC, because they are afraid of contracting AIDS, these patients have developed psychological problems, leading them to suffer AIDS-like symptoms.Whatever the cause, more people are saying that they have developed a mysterious AIDS-like disease for which they receive no effective treatment.A man wishing to remain anonymous said, “In our group, many people who developed the symptoms have already died. New people continue to join our group. We are certain it is not a mental problem, but a virus infection. But we know nothing else about the disease. My personal guess is that there could be millions in China with the same disease.”
Patients refer to the disease as “negative HIV” as they experience AIDS-like symptoms but don't test positive.
Some patients who claim to share the symptoms say it is highly contagious and can be spread by having unprotected or protected sex, kissing, sharing utensils, and coming into contact with others' perspiration. After they were infected, they said their immune systems began to fail.So far people have reported six common symptoms that have not been reported by those who have tested HIV-positive: white tongue "fur," a lack of elasticity in the skin, excess joint pains, muscle spasms, and a sensation of skin-crawling.
Early symptoms include light fever and coughing, followed by all kinds of different symptoms. According to Internet groups, many patients died within two to five years after the symptoms started to develop.Since the discovery of this AIDS-like disease in 2000, no patient has been known to recover, they say.
The disease can be easily spread to the entire family, heightening the fear among those who suffer from the symptoms. Mostly young to middle-aged people have reported having symptoms and say their children have also developed similar symptoms as well. A child was reported to have contracted the disease while in the womb.A commonly-reported early symptom is the swelling of the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system while swollen lymph nodes can signify viral infection.
Fear First or Infection First?In China, there is debate over whether “HIV-phobia” is a virus infection or a psychological problem.Lin Feng’s case may shed some light on this question. In 2008, Lin’s mother received a blood transfusion during an operation on her stomach in a hospital in Shanghai. A few days after she got home, she had swollen lymph nodes and an lesion on her skin. Her joints become fragile and soft, while her whole body became enfeebled. After that, her physical state worsened dramatically.One day, his mother cut the back of her hand on broken glass and he cut himself as well while cleaning. Afterwards, he exposed the cut to his mother's blood. Three days later, Lin began suffering symptoms similar to those of his mother.“I went to the hospital for a checkup. They told me I have problems with my liver," Lin recalled. "Later they told me I have problems in my stomach.” Because he could not get a diagnosis for his problem, he searched on the Internet and found “AIDS phobia” groups. “Patients’ words are stricken with desperation and grief. I told them not to worry or fear, as the disease will be identified. As a result, those patients thought I was sent by the CDC and kicked me out of the group.” said Lin.Later, as his illness worsened and the Chinese medical community could do nothing about it, Lin also became fearful and desperate.A retired army officer, using Internet handle "Peace," claimed he hasn't had the flu for decades but said he experienced the AIDS-like symptoms recently."In 2009 at a party, a person who I know spit in my drink," he said. "After I got home, I discovered I had been infected. Then, symptoms appeared one after another. Within a few months, I unintentionally spread the virus to my entire family, relatives, colleagues, and friends. Many of them have high social status."He added, “I went to the Ministry of Public Health to report the situation. They said to me that they had never heard of the disease. The National Disease Control Center told me that the disease should not be infectious. If so, why is there no report of it overseas but only in China? Thus they consider the patients to have mental illness. The virus is spreading secretly and people have no intention of prevention.”
Seeking RevengeA person who wishes to remain anonymous revealed that between 2008 to 2009, an Internet group called “Harbor,” consisting of more than 240 AIDS-phobia patients, formed a tourist group to donate blood in big cities between Shenzhen and Shanghai. They attempted to spread the virus and increase the number of infected people so that the state would start to pay attention to the disease.As these AIDS-phobia patients haven’t tested positive for AIDS or any known infectious virus, they passed the blood test. Later, blood containing the unknown AIDS phobia virus entered the blood supply. Lin Feng’s mother who received infected blood in a blood transfusion at a hospital in Shanghai spread the virus to her whole family, suggesting the Harbor movement has already had an impact.Members of Harbor also wander around on busy streets. They spread the virus to all the prostitutes they meet. By 2009, many prostitutes in night clubs and on streets had become infected.A woman in Shenzhen with Internet moniker “The End” said her whole family died after being infected with the disease. She said afterward, she had sex with men to infect them.A lady named “Fear” from Xiang Fan City in Hubei Province is still infecting people. One of 50 people who participated in a CDC examination admitted that he has donated blood in the past and spit in his colleague’s cup to spread the virus.These patients keep their lives hidden from others. Besides discussing their individual symptoms with fellow patients, they would not let others know their situation, even relatives who have gotten infected by them. They say they are afraid of being discriminated against, hated, and abandoned.It is hard to determine how large the group is because of the information blockade in China and the group’s tendency to self-isolate. Those who take part in Internet groups come from all parts of China and from all walks of life; the majority of them are still young.“I’m trying every kind of medicine and taking notes. I am seeking a way out. When my day comes, this is what I can leave to my children, my family," Ping An said. "If there’s no cure for this disease, this could be a disaster for humankind."
source: The Epoch Times, Wednesday June 16, 2010 :http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/37509/