Assam blood bank accused of spreading HIV virus

Guwahati, June 14 (IANS) A government-run blood bank in Assam was Friday accused of spreading the deadly HIV virus among recipients who got infected after a blood transfusion there. The magnitude of the allegations has led the Assam government to institute a probe.

The allegations came after one person, who was tested HIV positive recently, alleged that he got infected by the HIV virus after he was given blood by a professional blood donor a few months back. He alleged that the authorities at the blood bank of the Mangaldai civil hospital arranged the donor for him.

The person also brought to the fore three others, who also underwent blood transfusion in the hospital and accepted the blood of the same donor through the blood bank, and all of them had been tested HIV positive.

Although these four people braved the stigma and declared their HIV infection status, it is believed there might be more people who got the HIV infection through the blood of the same donor.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Friday ordered Additional Chief Secretary P.P. Verma to carry out a detailed inquiry into the whole incident and asked him to submit the report within one month. Gogoi also said that action would be taken against the guilty if the allegation proved to be true.

“I was having some problem and went to a lab for carrying out some pathological tests. However, the blood report indicated me to be a HIV positive. I got a shock of my life as I have not done anything through which I could contract the disease. Then I remembered taking blood from the professional donor through the blood bank of Mangaldai civil hospital,” said one of the four victims.

“I immediately found out about the other three persons who had recently accepted blood of the donor through the same blood bank and also tested HIV positive. Later, we forced the donor to undergo HIV test and he tested positive. This proved that we all got the infection through his blood and the blood bank had not carried out the necessary tests while giving his blood to us,” he said, while holding the blood bank responsible for the infection.

“Our lives have been ruined due to the blood bank authorities,” he said.

The professional donor admitted giving blood to the four people but said that he was not aware that he is an HIV positive.

“I have given blood only four times so far and every time the authorities of the blood bank conducted tests. They have never told me that I am an HIV positive. I would have never given my blood if I had known about the disease,” he said.

A team of officials of state health department will also leave for Mangaldai Saturday to carry out an inquiry.

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