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Dr. Gao Yaojie, Renowed AIDS Activist Dies At 95


Dr. Gao Yaojie, a trailblazing Chinese doctor and activist, passed away at the age of 95 in her home in the United States. She was known for her fearless exposure of the AIDS virus epidemic in rural China during the 1990s. Columbia University professor Andrew J. Nathan, who had legal power of attorney for Gao, confirmed her passing.

A Decade of Exile in the U.S.: Gao’s Courageous Journey

Gao rose to prominence as China’s most prominent AIDS activist, exposing blood-selling schemes that infected thousands with HIV. Her unwavering commitment to addressing the crisis earned her international recognition and forced the Chinese government to confront the AIDS epidemic well into the 2000s.

Gao Yaojie’s Impact Beyond China

In 2009, she made the bold move to the United States, where she continued her advocacy through public talks and writing about her experiences. Her move to the U.S. provided a platform for her to share her experiences and insights, further raising awareness about the AIDS crisis in rural China. Gao’s work resonated beyond China’s borders, garnering recognition from international organizations and officials.

A Life Shaped by History: Gao’s Background and Challenges

Born on December 19, 1927, in Shandong province, Gao’s life unfolded during a tumultuous period in China’s history. She faced challenges such as the Japanese invasion and the civil war that brought the Communist Party to power. Despite enduring beatings during the Cultural Revolution, she pursued a medical education in Henan.

On the Frontlines: Gao’s Tireless Efforts in Rural Villages

As a roving gynecologist, Gao spent days on the road treating patients in remote villages. Her firsthand encounter with an HIV patient in 1996 exposed the disastrous consequences of blood banks using dirty needles and pooling leftover blood for transfusions. Gao’s investigations, often conducted by visiting people’s homes, revealed the grim reality of parents succumbing to AIDS, leaving behind orphaned children.

Legacy and Controversy: Gao’s Impact on Chinese Society

Gao’s passing evoked a range of reactions on Chinese social media. While many expressed condolences, some criticized her decision to move to the U.S. and her stance against the Chinese government. Her legacy remains a complex narrative, blending admiration for her courage with debates over her choices.

Important Questions Related to Exams

Q: Who was Dr. Gao Yaojie?

A: Dr. Gao Yaojie was a renowned Chinese doctor and activist known for exposing the AIDS epidemic in rural China during the 1990s.

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