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Man held over HIV hospital rumors

A MAN in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, has been detained for spreading Internet rumors that doctors and nurses with the Jiangsu Province People's Hospital were infected with HIV.

Hospital officials confirmed this to today's China Youth Daily report.

The man, identified as "Director of Suojin Village" at the online forum, ran an apology on May 22 on the Website for creating and spreading the rumor, which was "totally baseless."

He confirmed the content of a previous post on April 22 by another user "maxneal" on the Xici forum which said several doctors and nurses were HIV positive after a young male doctor tested HIV positive in a pre-marital check-up.

"Director of Suojin Village" continued in the post to identify a medicine company saleswoman who was accused of infecting the young doctor after having sex with him to make him buy her products.

The rumor, involving sex, bribery and just every item needed for a scandal, soon spread online and became a piping hot topic.

The hospital made a statement on May 14 denying there were mass HIV infections and refuting the sex claims.

Hospital officials told the China Youth Daily that one young doctor had returned a positive HIV test result, but they denied the infection had anything to do with a saleswoman.

The hospital has reported the case to the local health authority and the young doctor has resigned.

An unidentified doctor told China Youth Daily that it was possible for a doctor to be infected when carrying out emergency surgical procedures on an HIV-infected patient.

Though patients are usually required to undergo HIV tests before surgery, the tests are sometimes skipped in emergencies, he explained.

The hospital thinks "Director of Suojin Village" spread the rumor as an act of revenge after doctors refused to overprescribe some medicine for him. The hospital believes he was going to sell the extra medicine for profit.

The man was also hostile towards the saleswoman he identified in his Website accusing her of being "impolite" to him during a promotion, hospital officials said.

The saleswoman has reported the case to police and is seeking compensation from the man for libel, hospital officials said, adding that the saleswoman was not HIV positive.

Police are still looking for the original publisher of the post.


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