A retired Chinese physician who publicized the dangers of AIDS said Thursday that health officials have blocked her from traveling to the United States to accept an award for her work.

Dr. Gao Yaojie, 74, said health officials accused her of helping "anti-China forces" when she publicized the spread of AIDS among poor farmers in central China, blamed on an unsanitary blood-buying industry.

Gao was to accept the Jonathan Mann Award from the Global Health Council at a ceremony Thursday in Washington, D.C., attended by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The retired gynecologist said officials at her former hospital in the central city of Zhengzhou in Henan province refused to approve her passport application, a step required for government employees.