Boy got HIV from blood given in Assam hospital: Parents

Guwahati : A poor couple has claimed that their three-year-old son acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection from blood transfusion at state-run Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here.

GMCH Superintendent A.K. Bezbaruah admitted that the boy had tested HIV-positive, but said it was difficult to say immediately as to how the boy contracted the infection.

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“We have formed a five-member committee today (Tuesday) to look into all aspects of the boy’s treatment and will try to find out if there was any lacuna on GMCH’s part.”

The couple said the boy was given multiple blood transfusions during several surgeries last year to treat his burn injuries.

“Both me and my wife are HIV-negative. So how can the boy get HIV? Last year, we got him admitted to the hospital where he was given blood for some operations. We got blood from the GMCH blood bank only,” said the parents on the condition of anonimity.

“We came to know about the HIV infection on March 30 during routine blood tests on the boy at the GMCH. However, doctors treating him advised us not to tell this to anyone. So we kept silent. They assured us of free treatment to the boy but nothing was done,” said the boy’s mother.

The couple chose to speak on the issue in public only on Monday evening.

The boy was admitted in the GMCH on April 15 last year with 40 percent burn injuries. About a dozen surgeries were done on him. He was discharged on October 3 last year.

“The boy was re-admitted on March 29 for two more surgeries. During routine examination, he tested HIV-positive on March 30. We put him on Anti-Retroviral Therapy immediately,” the GMCH official said.

Bezbaruah said the boy was out of the hospital for about six months and he could have contracted the infection during this period as well.

“We are looking at all possible angles and the matter is likely to be clear after the probe committee submits its report,” he said.

In 2013, four people tested HIV-positive after alleged blood transfusion at a government hospital in Assam, sparking protests by civil society groups and other bodies.