China's Fraught History with AIDS

China’s CRISPR baby controversy exposed the country’s ongoing failure to counter pervasive discrimination and lack of understanding about the disease, Kathleen McLaughlin writes.
She explores questions raised by the controversy—such as why did researcher He Jiankui chose to edit a gene in embryos that might protect the babies from AIDS, despite the fact that simpler and safer procedures—like sperm washing—already exist? And how informed were the parents who agreed to participate in the experiment?
Xi Chen, a public health researcher at Yale University who studies China, said, says that the China’s history of cover-ups and discrimination surrounding the illness pave the way for such choices. He emphasized the need to educate people that there are safer and more effective ways to prevent parent-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.


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