HIV Scandal Spreads in Kyrgyzstan

Health workers charged with infecting children
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 21, 2008 7:51 AM CDT
Kyrgyz health workers are accused of administering contaminated blood transfusions and injections to children now infected with HIV.    (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Fourteen medical professionals in Kyrgyzstan face malpractice and negligence charges after allegedly infecting 42 children with HIV. The group of doctors, nurses, and a top administrator could receive prison terms of up to 10 years for administering contaminated injections and blood transfusions. Such incidents may be common, one aide worker says, but the stigma of HIV here keeps families from speaking up.

The case also raises concerns over whether hospitals in impoverished areas of Central Asia are helping or hurting their patients, BBC reports. In 2007, 21 Kazak health workers were locked up after infecting 150 kids with the virus that causes AIDS. Neighboring Kyrgystan now counts 1,500 registered cases of HIV out of a total population of 5 million, up 15% from 2002. (Read more AIDS stories.)