An unlicensed medic is being charged with murder after Cambodian medical authorities found 212 cases of HIV in the district where he had been treating patients, allegedly with contaminated equipment.
Yem Chrin treated poor patients and was believed to have healing powers, Reuters reports. However, he did not have a medical license and was allegedly delivering injections and blood transfusions using unclean equipment. Authorities tested 1,940 people in the northwestern province where Yem Chrin worked, and 212 tested positive for HIV. Some children as young as 6 years old tested positive for the virus, according to al-Jazeera.
Yem Chrin allegedly told police that he sometimes used the same syringe on two or three patients before disposing of it.
The World Health Organization and UNAIDS found that “the percentage of people that reported receiving an injection or intravenous infusion as part of their health treatment was significantly higher among the people who tested positive for HIV than the people who were HIV negative,” in the area in which Yem Chrin treated patients, Reuters reports.
The development is a setback in Cambodia’s largely successful efforts to eradicate the virus since it first spread through the country in the 1990s.