New HIV "Strain" All in the Mind: Outbreak of Paranoia Strikes Chinese Men

By Smriti Rao | February 11, 2010 10:34 am

HIV-virusSomething nasty is in the air in China, and it isn’t the infamous smog. Sweeping the country is a new paranoia, in which men become convinced that they’ve contracted HIV, often blaming their infection on a visit to a prostitute. Hundreds of Chinese men have reportedly been visiting doctors and have refused to believe the evidence of negative HIV tests. So strong is their fear that some men wear masks or refuse to interact with their families for fear of transmitting the disease.

Although the men say they feel sick, doctors don’t believe they’re dealing with a hitherto unknown virus, explains the BBC:

They suspect extreme guilt or anxiety about an act the men are ashamed of — sex with a prostitute — is affecting their immune systems, making them feel ill.

Chinese hospital authorities like Cai Weiping, who works in the southern province of Guangdong, are mildly annoyed at the steady trickle of patients who are paranoid that they are HIV positive.

The BBC reports:

“They come to have tests again and again, wasting money. A real HIV sufferer may take 15 minutes to deal with. A patient with the phobia can take at least an hour, or as much as half a day of arguing before they go away.”

Though other countries have also had their fair share of AIDS paranoia, some experts say what is happening in China is the unique result of the country’s medical history: China’s government has covered up or underplayed the effects of infectious disease outbreaks in the past, like the SARS epidemic of 2003 or the avian flu. Others note that the Internet fans people’s paranoia and offers them a way to constantly air their troubles–real or otherwise.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: China’s Syndrome
DISCOVER: Worrying About Killer Flu

Image: iStockphoto

MORE ABOUT: AIDS, china, paranoia
  • http://sites.google.com/site/newhivaidslikeviruschina Fear of AIDS virus

    This new HIV/AIDS-like virus (“Fear of AIDS” disease) in China is real. More news and information about it can be found here:

    http://sites.google.com/site/newhivaidslikeviruschina

  • Rick

    This is a real disease it is not paranoia this sh8 is scary I contracted it a year ago and could not figure out what I had!! it does act like the AIDS virus my glands are still swollen, it is something new I am not a happy unit, we and I mean the medical community needs to find out what this virus is and try to stop it….

  • chris

    I think I have it too

  • Rick again

    So I took this info to my last doctors visit and he did not even look at the info on this virus , my doctor just dismissed it like it was nothing, how retarded is that!!! What is probably going to happen is that peop;e who have this virus are going to donate blood and that practise can not be tolerated, even if just a few people donate blood this disease could spread to thousands of people, I guess not everyone gets sick when they contract this virus but I got very sick for months, I do feel better now but it has still made me very tired with swollen glands and I did have two aids tests came back negative, the medical community needs to find a antiviral or some medication that will stop this diease……

  • RickHasAids

    I think it’s affecting their IQ

  • glennb

    This disease sounds very similar to Morgellons. Interesting that in both the USA and China most doctors have decided that it is all in the mind or that those complaining of symptoms are suffering from mental illness or “paranoia”
    The stricken Chinese are complaining of white furry tongue, joint pain, the sensation of the skin crawling, skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes and changes in skin color with one man saying his skin looked purple. Other noted symptoms are hardening of internal organs, muscle pain, fatigue and skin lesions.

    Death is being reported to occur within 2-5 years of initial infection.

    These are symptoms that those with Morgellons commonly complain of. I have Morgellons and it is a serious and real illness, eventually a deadly illness. There are scientifically documented changes in the blood that occur with Morgellons infection (see carnicom.com) so this is a real and serious illness. Like the Chinese that believe they are infected with something weird the skin on my hands and feet frequently looks purple, purplish reddish black actually.

    I suspect that the illness the Chinese are complaining about, negative HIV, is really Morgellons.

  • JJ

    I have good reason to believe that we are dealing with an anti-biotic resistant form of Staphylococcus epidermidis. Click this link and scroll down to letter by Dr. Yang Ruiming. http://sites.google.com/site/newhivaidslikeviruschina/medical-research When I was visiting China I took a mega dose of the anti-biotic amoxcillin, thinking I had Gonorrhea. I though it worked because my symptoms temporarily subsided. Later I found out that i never had Gonorrhea, and that amoxicillin is an antibiotic used to treat Staphylococcus, which is why it may have provided temporary relief. This is very serious.Staphylococcus epidermidis. Click this link and scroll down to letter by Dr. Yang Ruiming. http://sites.google.com/site/newhivaidslikeviruschina/medical-research When I was visiting China I took a mega dose of the anti-biotic amoxcillin, thinking I had Gonorrhea. I though it worked because my symptoms temporarily subsided. Later I found out that i never had Gonorrhea, and that amoxicillin is an antibiotic used to treat Staphylococcus, which is why it may have provided temporary relief. This is very serious.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »