Indiana Daily Student

Film contends 147 toddlers were infected in Uzbek HIV outbreak

MOSCOW — An AIDS outbreak at two children’s hospitals in Uzbekistan has killed at least 14 children and left 133 infected with HIV, according to a documentary posted on a respected Central Asian news Web site Monday.

The editor of Ferghana.ru said the 2007 outbreak was first reported in an official documentary produced by Uzbek prosecutors for government television.

But he said the video never aired because authorities had second thoughts about broadcasting it, fearing that it would provoke a public outcry and unfavorable international publicity.

The documentary posted reported 12 doctors and nurses at two hospitals in Namangan were convicted of treating the children with contaminated medical equipment.

According to the narrator, the health workers were sentenced to prison terms from five years to eight years and eight months.

Uzbek officials did not return repeated phone calls from The Associated Press.
The AP could not verify the authenticity of the documentary, which would be the first official confirmation of the long-rumored outbreak, but a former Uzbek television producer said it appeared authentic.

Daniil Kislov, editor of Ferghana.ru, said his site obtained the video from an Uzbek health official after authorities canceled plans to broadcast it.

Government officials keep a tight grip on the media in Uzbekistan, where President Islam Karimov has ruled for more than 20 years.

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