5 infected with HIV at Chinese traditional medicine hospital

BEIJING: At least 5 patients in a traditional Chinese medicine hospital in China were inadvertently infected with HIV, officials said Thursday (Feb 9), since authorities moved to censor online conversation over the episode.

A technician in the Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine found an tube used in a previous medical examination to get an HIV-positive patient, the state’s health and family planning commission said in an announcement on its official site, calling it an “serious violation of process”.

The local center for disease management confirmed that five patients had been infected, it included, without offering additional info regarding the total number of sufferers the technician may have exposed to the virus.

The government body had been advised of the problem from the hospital at January 26. It didn’t explain why no statement has been issued in the interim period, nor did it define when the infections occurred.

It wasn’t clear what people who had been inadvertently infected were initially being handled for.

As of Thursday afternoon, the hospital’s site had been taken offline. No hospital representatives could be contacted for comment.

Most Chinese-language media reports about the inadvertent HIV infections had been deleted by Thursday afternoon, leaving just the brief government statement in online circulation.

Many crucial comments on social media had been removed.

“It is actually a tragedy. I can not imagine the accident occurred in one of the greatest hospitals in Hangzhou,” said one of those few posts still staying about the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

One consumer “stunned” by the incident noticed that posts about it had been rapidly being deleted and that important Chinese news outlets needed disabled comment and forwarding functions in their online reports.

Calling the censorship disgusting, the consumer included: “I believe people have the right to learn the truth.”

At a 2015 report China told the UN that it had 501,000 cases of HIV/AIDS at the end of 2014.

News of the inadvertent infections comes days after China announced plans to double the number of AIDS patients it heals with TCM within a wider push to increase using the ancient practice in the country’s medical system.