A 24-year-old pregnant woman in Tamil Nadu contracted HIV after infected blood was pumped into her during a blood transfusion at a government hospital in Virudhunagar district.
Three lab technicians were suspended for alleged lapses over the last two years.
The woman was administered blood from an HIV-positive young man on December 3. The man was tested positive for HIV and Hepatitis-B two years ago by a government lab after he donated his blood. However, he wasn’t informed of the test results and donated his blood again last month at the government blood bank. By the time the HIV infection was detected, his blood was transfused into the pregnant woman, officials said.
The woman was put on anti-retroviral treatment after she was tested HIV-positive. Whether the baby would be infected with HIV would be known only after its birth, authorities said.
HIV virus is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse, infected blood and from an infected mother to the baby in her womb or through breastfeeding.
“There have been lapses twice. We suspect the technician who cleared the blood did not test for HIV. It’s an accident and not intentional. We have ordered a probe. We are also treating the young man,” said Dr R Manoharan, deputy director at Tamil Nadu’s health department.
The government, he said, has offered financial compensation and jobs for the woman and her husband after the alleged negligence.
In 2017, only 59 per cent of the 36.9 million people living with HIV across the world were receiving the antiretroviral therapy, according to World Health Organisation.