Man misdiagnosed with HIV 'lived in hell' for 10 years

A man in China was forced to live in complete isolation for a decade after he was misdiagnosed with HIV in 2004.

The 53-year-old farmer from Henan was told that he was HIV-positive in 2004. Following the diagnosis, Yang Shoufa was abandoned by his family and ostracised by his neighbours, People's Daily reported.

He could not pinpoint how he contracted the virus, except that he had sold his blood on the black market once in 1992. Henan had an AIDS outbreak in the 1990s due to unhygienic blood collection, The Straits Times reported.

For the next eight years, Mr Yang spent his life savings on anti-HIV drugs. However, his condition deteriorated.

According to South China Morning Post, he fell ill and was admitted into hospital in 2012.

While warded there, his medical reported revealed that he did not have AIDS. Multiple tests done at other hospitals also confirmed that he was HIV-negative, CCTV News reported.

He was diagnosed with a slew of other illnesses instead, which included inflammation of the esophagus and gallbladder, bleeding from stomach ulcers and an enlarged prostate.

The man recounted his ordeal: "To live through each day was a torture. I had no idea which day would be my last day."

Enraged by the misdiagnosis that cost him his family and health, Mr Yang demanded compensation from the county disease control centre for his undue suffering.

He was offered 250,000 yuan (S$53,000) in May this year but he rejected the amount, saying: "My entire life is destroyed, and they want to get away with it so easily".

HIV-positive patients are heavily stigmatised in China, especially by people living in rural areas where HIV/AIDS remain poorly understood.

AFP reported that an eight-year-old boy with HIV was reportedly ordered to leave his village in 2014. He was abandoned by his parents and also denied contact with other villagers.

minlee@sph.com.sg