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Chinese Hospital's Request for Virgin Blood Sparks Outrage

Update Date: Sep 16, 2013 01:23 PM EDT

A Chinese cancer hospital has sparked outrage after it called upon female virgins ages 18 to 24 to donate their blood for medical research.

The Peking University Cancer Hospital's request for blood from 100 adult female virgins for studies on the human papilloma virus (HPV) has been condemned as demeaning to women, according to China Daily.

Internet users on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter equivalent, criticized the request as promoting virginity worship and insulting to women, according to AFP.

"Male virgins are not needed, just females, how is this science?" wrote one user of Sina Weibo.

Some Chinese men often want their brides to be virgins, and surgery to seal hymens or "restore" virginity has become increasingly popular in China, AFP noted.

The hospital defended the request by saying that people who haven't had sex are significantly less likely to be infected with HPV, which is usually transmitted through sexual contact. They say that a serum antibody for HPV can only be extracted from the blood of women who have never been infected.

"It's in line with international practice to collect female virgins' blood samples, which serve as negative control substances in HPV research, given that the risk of contracting HPV is low among women who have never had sex," spokeswoman Guan Jiuping told China Daily.

Guan noted that hospital staff would take the donor's word for their sexual status. She added that the hospital will try its best to improve its communication skills in the future.

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