A Scottish health board is looking for an HIV-positive patient after a mysterious blood sample was found to be infected.
NHS Highland has confirmed it is contacting a small number of people whose blood tests were processed at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness in early 2021.
The positive result was discovered during a routine test of a blood sample, but doctors found that the person from whom it was taken did not have the disease.
The health board said a “thorough laboratory investigation” suggested there may have been cross-contamination with another unknown sample.
As such, they believe there is a living patient with an undiagnosed HIV infection and are willing to offer treatment and support if they wish.
Dr Boyd Peters, Medical Director of NHS Highland, said: “We are offering an HIV test to patients who have had laboratory blood tests for a similar period via a Patient Notification Exercise (PNE).
“Letters have been sent to those included in the exercise to provide them with specific advice and offer them an HIV test.
“HIV testing involves a blood test that is provided free of charge and results are available within days.
“We have a dedicated team of health advisers who will provide hands-on support, advice and guidance to everyone involved in this process.
“We sincerely apologize for any stress and anxiety this may cause individual patients and the wider community.”
It is estimated that around 500 people living in Scotland are unaware they are infected, around one in 10,000 people.
People living with HIV often feel completely healthy for the first five years or so of infection and, unless tested, do not know they are infected.
Diagnosing HIV at this early stage is important because it allows treatment to begin.
Effective treatment started early allows people living with HIV to live long, healthy lives and stops transmission.
The Scottish Government aims to eliminate HIV transmission in Scotland by 2030.
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