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Man sues over false AIDS diagnosis

A MAN in northwest China's Shaanxi Province has taken three health authorities to court for wrongly diagnosing him as an HIV carrier, court authorities confirmed yesterday.

Feng Zhanqiang, 33, is demanding 140,000 yuan (US$20,500) in compensation, said a spokesman with the Beilin District Court in Xi'an, the provincial capital.

The defendants included the Shaanxi Provincial Disease Prevention and Control Center and the local DPCCs in Xi'an and Yanta District of Xi'an, the court said.

A blood test in June 2006 indicated Feng was HIV positive. Feng, a native of Xi'an, was then under an education-through-labor program on a farm, as punishment for theft and using drugs.

The test was conducted by the disease prevention and control center in Yanta District and verified by DPCCs at the city and provincial levels.

"Two months after my release, health workers from the center came to my house and told my family I was infected with AIDS," Feng said at Wednesday's court hearing.

The family was shocked. "My mother-in-law knelt down and begged me to leave my wife. Soon, all the villagers believed I was suffering AIDS and fled whenever I was in sight."

In August 2008, Feng was knocked down by a truck and suffered a fracture in the right leg. "I told the surgeons I was an HIV carrier, which shocked them. They tested my blood and told me I was HIV negative."

The Shaanxi DPCC said his blood sample was probably contaminated. "We apologize to Mr Feng for the mistake," the center said in a written response to Feng's protest in February.

Court officials said their verdict will be announced at a later date.


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