2004 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, 1st prize

Lu Guang

20 October, 2002

Zhou Mao sold his blood three times in order to raise the money to send his five children to school for one semester. He has been ill for three years, and his children have now left school to take care of him.

In the mid-1990s, poor peasants in Henan province sold their blood for 50 yuan a pint, enough to buy two bags of fertilizer. As a result of unsafe procedures, a large number of them were infected with the HIV virus. In some villages up to 40 percent of the inhabitants are seropositive, but for a long time have been isolated from help because the existence of AIDS in China was not officially acknowledged.

Even today, many villagers are uncertain whether they are infected and cannot afford a test, which costs 80 yuan. Organized help from local health authorities is underway, but many people do not have the money to go to hospital and are cared for by family and friends.

About the photographer

Lu Guang

Lu Guang was born in 1961, in Zhejiang Province, China. He has been passionate about photography since he held a camera for the first time, in 1980 when he was a factory worker i...

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