Hundreds in Chile Not Notified of HIV Status
Over 500 people in Chile were not informed that they were HIV positive after going in for testing. There was an apparent breakdown in administrative communication, as public health services didn't even attempt to contact most of the patients to let them know they had tested positive for the virus:
Private-sector health services also fell down, failing to inform an estimated 1,700 people that tests show them carrying the AIDS virus.
Health Minister Alvaro Erazo gave the numbers to congress Thursday after the scandal forced his predecessor to resign.
Chile's public health service says some patients gave the wrong address, but in about half the cases, there is no evidence anyone tried to reach them.
Now Chile is launching an intense campaign to locate the patients and inform them confidentially of their condition.
The potential effects of this medical meltdown could be disastrous - it is unknown how long patients went on believing they were HIV-free, and may have inadvertently infected other sexual partners during this time.