'Immediate concern': Hundreds at risk of contracting HIV after test stuff-up

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Victoria’s troubled hotel quarantine program is back in the spotlight once again after another stuff-up led to residents sharing glucose testing devices, prompting a HIV scare.

On Monday, Safer Care Victoria revealed more than 200 guests may have been inadvertently exposed to blood-borne viruses.

Testing devices not designed to be shared were repeatedly used on multiple residents to test their glucose levels, presenting a risk of cross-contamination and infections including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.

Safer Care Victoria acting chief executive Associate Professor Ann Maree Keenan said the clinical risk of infection was low but former guests are being contacted and offered precautionary screening.

Hotel quarantine guests in Victoria shared glucose testing devices. Source: Getty, file.
Hotel quarantine guests in Victoria shared glucose testing devices. Source: Getty, file.

“The health of past quarantine residents is our immediate concern, so arranging screening for them is our absolute priority,” she said.

Based on health records, 243 hotel quarantine residents had a blood glucose level test, which uses a needle to extract blood from a finger, from March 29 to August 20.

The devices are mostly used to test blood glucose levels in people with diabetes – however, most people with diabetes will have their own device and would not have required a test by a nurse or doctor during quarantine.

The test may also be used for pregnant women, people who fainted or people who are generally unwell.

The needles can be changed between use, but the body of the devices can retain microscopic amounts of blood.

Safer Care Victoria is conducting a full review into how and why the devices came to be in use, Associate Professor Keenan said.

with AAP

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