Leak of HIV information in China

UNAIDS and the World Health Organization welcome the swift response by Chinese health authorities and community based organizations to the suspected leak of confidential information about people living with HIV in China over the last week. The two organizations stress that the leak of personal information of people living with HIV is a violation of the fundamental right to patient confidentiality.

Chinese health and public security authorities are investigating what appears to be a serious case of fraud, where people posing as government officials contacted people living with HIV and promised they would be provided with financial allowances in exchange for their banking information. Health authorities are also investigating how patient information systems were breached and the personal details of people living with HIV were accessed.

It is still unclear how many people have been affected by the scam, but according to reports collected by community based organizations in China through social media several hundred people have been contacted by the scammers.

WHO and UNAIDS agree that it is crucially important to strengthen existing systems so that this kind of breach does not occur again. Security of personal and health information of people living with HIV is crucial for an effective HIV response at every stage of the HIV response: from surveillance, prevention, testing, and treatment, to the provision of other care and support services.

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