HIV blood: Chennai woman alleges threat from PHC doc for going to media

Chennai: A day after a woman claimed to have been infected with HIV after a blood transfusion at Government Kilapuk Medical College (KMC) Hospital, a women’s organisation today jumped in support of her and staged a protest, even as she and her husband decided to approach the Police Commissioner, alleging threat from a health official.

Members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) staged a protest in front of KMC “seeking justice for the woman”.

Speaking about it to News Today, AIDWA State secretary, Pramila, said, “The victim was threatened by a doctor from the Primary Health Centre (PHC) last night for taking the matter to the media, following which she sought our support.”

Her husband, while talking to this reporter over phone, said, “We are discussing with a lawyer about the legal proceedings and will be filing a complaint against KMC today.”

Following the incident of HIV transfusion to an 8-month pregnant woman in Virudhunagar that sent shockwaves across the State, another woman from Mangadu, in Chennai, claimed that she was also infected with the AIDS virus.

The woman, undergoing treatment at Mangadu PHC, was asked to undergo transfusion at KMC in April as her haemoglobin level was found to be insufficient. She was given two units of blood and discharged after 10 days.

The test reports before transfusion revealed her to be HIV negative and when it was repeated four months later in August, she was found to be HIV positive. However, the child she gave birth to was found to be HIV negative.

The woman and her husband had written to the Director of Medical Education (DME), Health Minister and Secretary. Acting on the complaint, the DME initiated a probe and stated that the donor’s blood was safe and reiterated that the blood was diligently screened for the presence of antigens.

Yesterday, KMC Dean, Dr Vasanthamani, also denied the charges, and stated, “We doubted the authenticity of the first HIV test. Usually, when tested for HIV, a number is allotted to the patient but this result had no number. That is why we tested the couple again and found her to be HIV positive while her husband to be negative.”

While almost all the banks and hospitals separate the components of blood (RBC, WBC and platelets), a gynaecologist suggests screening for HIV once again before transfusion.

Explaining, Doctors’ Association for Social Equality State secretary and gynaecologist, Dr Shanthi, said, “In all the cases, the technicians screen for multiple viruses; however, it should be made mandatory to do nucleic acid test after a period of 10 days or one month.”

“The equipment are supplied by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and in rare cases, the device may record HIV positive, even if the patient is negative and vice-versa. In such cases, confirmatory test is conducted which will show accurate results. Doing it may fetch 99.999 per cent correct result,” added Shanthi.



Bhavani Prabhakar