Dr. Gao Yaoije aka The AIDS Granny


By: Ms. J

Our Sophisticated Diva of the week is Dr. Gao Yaoije. Dr. Yaoije is a Chinese gynecologist and AIDS activist from the Zhengzhou, Henan province, China.


Gao is recognized as “The AIDS Granny”. She was the first to recognize that AIDS was being spread due to unsafe blood collection and transfusion transacted by the Chinese government. Over thousands in the Central Chinese villages were infected as they assumed that they were getting extra money to live on for donating blood. Gao made it her mission to educate the population using her own money to produce leaflets about the facts, distribute medicine and assist with the adoption of orphans. Due to these actions, Gao was placed under house arrest in China and eventually fled the country. She currently resides in New York, NY.

Awards and Accomplishments:
2001: Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights
2002: Time Magazine’s Asian Heroine
2003: Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in Manila, Philippines
2003: “Ten People Who Touched China in 2003” by China Central Television
2007: “Global Leadership Award, Women Changing Our World” by the Vital Voices Global Partnership
2007: “The Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award” by New York Academy of Sciences
2008: Gao’s autobiography “The Soul of Gao Yaojie” (written in Chinese) was published by Ming Pao Publications Limited (Hong Kong), and the English version, “The Soul of Gao Yaojie: A Memoir”, was published in November, 2011

Learn more at:




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