HIV status of nearly 800 patients accidentally disclosed by NHS clinic

The disclosure is believed to be the largest of its kind and will likely lead to a major investigation

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An NHS sexual health clinic in London has apologised after accidentally disclosing the names and email addresses of 780 HIV positive patients.

56 Dean Street, which describes itself as “Europe’s busiest sexual health, contraception and HIV care clinic”, mistakenly revealed the patients' details in a newsletter issued on Tuesday, the Guardian reports.

The disclosure is believed to be the largest of its kind and will likely lead to a major investigation by Britain’s data protection watchdog.

The clinic, which is managed by the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust, released an apology shortly after sending the email and said it will issue an investigation in to how the breach occurred.

Speaking to the Guardian, Elliot Herman, 38, from London, said the email contained names of his friends who had never disclosed their HIV status to him prior to the leak.

He said: “If my details were on that list I would feel angry and disappointed at the clinic”.

The Trust’s website says that it has an “excellent national and international reputation”, and in 2003 it was the first NHS service to offer rapid 1 hour HIV POC testing.

The clinic has won several national awards for its work, it says it aims to “deliver a first class HIV and sexual health service for all our patients by utilising the latest technology in a modern environment”.

Dean Street has a long history of providing sexual health services to patients, with the world’s first Venereal disease clinic for men based on the street in 1862.

The Independent has contacted the clinic for comment.

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