Confidential Info of 388 HIV Patients Feared Leaked in China
(Image only for representational purpose)
Beijing: Personal information of at least 388 Chinese HIV patients has been allegedly leaked in a fraud in which individuals had called them up posing as governmental officials, state-run media reported on Tuesday.
"A total of 388 persons have received scam calls in 31 provinces," Bai Hua, the head of Baihualin National Alliance, a nongovernmental organisation that aims to provide assistance to people living with HIV, said.
China's health officials have also complained to police about the alleged leak, which the World Health Organisation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS on Monday termed as a violation of the fundamental right to patient confidentiality.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday it has received tip-offs from many HIV-positive persons that they received several scam calls from people posing as governmental officials and suspected their personal information had been divulged, Global Times reported.
"Some HIV-positive persons told me that the scammers knew their names, addresses, the time when they were diagnosed, even the special disease control centre and the doctors who prescribed them medicines," Bai said, adding the leak not only threatens patients' personal lives, but also damages trust between health authorities and patients.
The centre said it has alerted police and encrypted the information because it is illegal to disclose the personal information - including the names, addresses and names of family members - of people living with HIV without their permission.
A total of four persons have been defrauded of between 700 yuan (USD 104) and 6,700 yuan by the fraudulent officials, who promised the patients they would receive 6,800 yuan in subsidies after paying an initial commission charge, Bai said.