This industrial city is reeling after learning that at least 63 children have contracted AIDS through medical negligence many blame on corruption and the illicit sale of blood.
At least five infected toddlers have died after receiving injections or blood transfusions in hospitals in Shymkent, a city in Kazakhstan’s most densely population region 1,000 miles south of the capital.
Valentina Skryabina, leader of the nongovernment group Nadezhnaya Opora, which works to prevent AIDS among drug addicts, is convinced the illegal sale of blood is the source of the HIV in Shymkent’s hospitals.
“Blood is an article of trade…. Hospitals are offered blood, and not always through the (official) blood center. People trade in blood like they do in human organs.”
Skryabina said addicts and the homeless have been accepted by the regional blood center because they agreed to be paid less than the official rate of $47 for about a half-pint of blood.
“Was their blood properly checked? We are not sure,” she said.