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Net rumors put poster in jail

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

The man, identified as "Director of Suojin Village" at the online forum, apologized 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 forum which said several doctors and nurses were HIV positive after a young male doctor tested 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 soon spread online and became a hot topic.

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

Hospital officials told the newspaper 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 reported the case to the local health authority and the doctor had resigned.

An unidentified doctor said the doctor could have be infected when carrying out emergency surgical procedures on an HIV-infected patient.

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

The hospital believes "Director of Suojin Village" spread the rumor as an act of revenge after doctors refused to overprescribe some medicine for him. The man was also hostile toward the saleswoman he identified in his post accusing her of being "impolite" to him during a promotion.

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

Police are still looking for the person who wrote the original post.


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