A provincial hospital in China's Jiangsu Province has had to take the extraordinary step of publicly denying that any of its staff were infected with HIV, following a rumor circulated on the Internet about doctors being infected with HIV/AIDS after sex with a pharmaceutical sales woman.
The rumor was so widely published online that the hospital's reputation has been severely damaged.
The hospital said they knew the netizen who fueled the rumor. The man was once a patient in the hospital's urology unit and was unpleased with his treatment, the China Daily quoted them, as saying.
The China Youth Daily newspaper reported that police briefly detained this man, who was one of a number of netizens who posted messages on Xici.net.
After being released by police, the netizen posted an apology on the same forum in which he said the rumor was groundless and imaginary.
Despite the hospital's statement and the netizen's admission, there continues to be accusations of bribery in the medical sector.
"The incident shows the deteriorated relationship between doctors and patients. Citizens just don't trust the medical sector," Huang Jun, former president of Jiangsu provincial hospital told the China Youth Daily.
Yin Kaisheng, a respiratory disease doctor at Jiangsu provincial hospital, said medical bribery existed at many hospitals.