We don’t see HIV and AIDS in the news anymore, but it hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s spreading faster than ever in China, with infections among students soaring over the last decade.
There’s no cure, but the latest drugs stop the virus before it takes hold. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is the proven method of treating people with strong doses of antiretroviral drugs within 72 hours of an encounter. It induces a general malaise, but it’s better than letting the virus spread – and the knockoff products are even worse.
PEP works, but people are often confused and ashamed after potential exposure. For folks in Guangzhou, there’s a better way.
Thanks to a partnership between H-Shield (悦奔一生) and the infectious disease unit of Guangzhou No. 8 People’s Hospital, Yuexie Branch, residents in the southern metropolis can enjoy discrete, personalized guidance to get the right medicine at the right time. This expands H-Shield’s service from initial efforts in Shanghai and Chongqing.
It’s billed as a medical concierge service, where people pay RMB99 for four visits to the hospital, with H-Shield staff on site to welcome you, guide you through a separate route, fill out paperwork and make the stress-filled process more agreeable. There’s even a gift bag with label-less bottles (to discretely take the medication home) and sunglasses (for extra anonymity).
“We are trying to negotiate for both sides,” Wei Huang, Vice President of H-Shield, tells us, “so the community can be comfortable going to these services and having this help, and on the other hand the health service has what they need to control this disease.”
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The service, like H-Shield’s national 24-hour hotline is available to everyone, but with a special focus on two populations the World Health Organization find at greatest risk of HIV exposure: men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals. “We’re really sensitive about who we are talking to and the language we use,” Wei Huang tells us.
MSM and trans women are most at risk, but HIV doesn’t discriminate. And neither do they. H-Shield works with women – especially in the aftermath of a sexual assault – and anyone who doesn’t know the HIV status of their partner.
To book an appointment (in English or Chinese) through H-Shield’s digital booking system, scan the QR code below, follow their official account (ID:H-Shield), visit www.h-shield.com.cn or call the hotline at 4000-582-584.
[Top image via H-Shield]