No family, no job - all because of wrong HIV diagnosis

Mr Yang holding up a diagnosis report which confirms that he does not have HIV, the virus which causes Aids. He was deserted by his wife and children, lost his job and ruined his health as a result of the misdiagnosis in 2004.
Mr Yang holding up a diagnosis report which confirms that he does not have HIV, the virus which causes Aids. He was deserted by his wife and children, lost his job and ruined his health as a result of the misdiagnosis in 2004.PHOTO: WEIBO

BEIJING • The troubles for 53-year-old Yang Shoufa began in 2004 when he was diagnosed as having the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes Aids.

He was deserted by his wife, children and neighbours, and had to live in isolation for 10 years.

The expensive cocktail of antiviral drugs that he had to take not only wiped out his life savings but also exacted a toll on his health.

He lost his job after the heavy dosages started affecting his health.

"I did think of committing suicide," Mr Yang told People's Daily newspaper. "To live through each day was a torture. I had no idea which day would be my last day."

He could not figure out how he contracted the disease, but eventually convinced himself that he must have contracted the virus when he had his blood drawn for sale in 1992.

His home province, Henan, is infamous for an outbreak of Aids in several villages due to unhygienic blood collection in the 1990s.

In 2012, Mr Yang fell ill and was hospitalised. This time, his medical report came back saying he was HIV-negative, reported People's Daily. Another check late last year confirmed he is free of the virus.

His plight was posted online by his nephew and the local authorities are offering him 100,000 yuan (S$21,000) in compensation for the initial mistake.

"My life was totally ruined by the misdiagnosis. Everyone in the village ran away when they saw me, and nobody treated me as a living man," he told the Global Times newspaper.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'No family, no job - all because of wrong HIV diagnosis'. Print Edition | Subscribe