Unnao quack’s syringe may not be the only reason for HIV spread: Officials
Uttar Pradesh has ordered an investigation into the matter and would initiate strict action against unqualified medical practitioners.Updated: Feb 07, 2018 23:39 IST
It’s likely that the self-styled “doctor” accused of infecting people in Unnao with HIV with a contaminated syringe may not alone account for the spread of the virus. Officials say the region’s large migratory population and high-risk behaviour could also be the reason.
HIV spreads through an infected person’s body fluids, such as blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, and breast milk. In India, it spreads primarily through unsafe sex and sharing needles to inject drugs, which leads to stigma against those infected.
“We have registered an FIR against the quack on the basis of what villagers told us, but we cannot overlook the fact that such fast spread of HIV infection over a year isn’t possible entirely due to use of a single infected needed,” said NG Ravi Kumar, district magistrate, Unnao.
The accused, Rajendra Yadav, was arrested on Wednesday from the house of a relative, and has been booked under sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease deadly to life) and 308 (culpable homicide) of the IPC and section 15(3) of the Indian Medical Council Act.
The district’s chief medical officer, SP Chowdhary, also says that while the initial investigation suspected the quack, the village’s large migratory population could be to blame.
“The syringe infection theory is doubtful because the virus doesn’t survive in the needle for months, and he was giving intra-muscular shots and not intravenous shots for it to spread the way it has spread. There is a possibility that it is a wrong accusation against the doctor,” he said.
Of the 58 positive cases, two young migrant labourers between the ages of 15 and 24 admitted they had paid for sex without protection when they were out for work.
The spurt in cases in Premgunj, Kareemuddin Nagar and Chakmeera first emerged in July last year during a routine screening, when 12 people tested positive from Premgunj. Another 13 tested positive during another round of screening in November in four other villages. In January this year, the state government tested 566 people, of whom 33 returned positive results. Five persons are HIV reactive, which means HIV antibodies were found in their blood.
“I have asked for a thorough investigation into the matter,” said Kumar, who took over as DM in October last year.