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Former surgical tech tests positive for HIV, might have exposed patients

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DENVER -- Former Swedish Medical Center surgical technician Rocky Allen has tested positive for HIV, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday. The blood tests were released with Allen's consent.

Allen is accused of changing syringes and putting thousands of patients at risk. He pleaded not guilty in February. He worked at Swedish from August 2015 to January 2016 and is accused of diverting the painkiller fentanyl from the facility.

Results of the blood test show Allen carries HIV (subtype B) and that he is negative for hepatitis B and C, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Swedish Medical Center contacted anyone who might have been affected to offer free drug testing. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said 1,000 people never obtained complete test results.

According to a spokeswoman for Swedish, patients who have undergone testing and have received definitive results do not need to go in for more testing.

Anyone contacted by Swedish who has not yet been tested can call the medical center at 303-788-4646. Also, anyone with concerns about Allen’s HIV diagnosis should also contact the hospital.

There have been no reported cases of transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C to date, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

According to  Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer and executive director of CDPHE, the Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division has completed an investigation into Swedish Medical Center.

The hospital was cited for “deficient practice regarding Swedish pharmacy services, including drug auditing procedures as well as infection." The statement goes on to say that accountability and tracking controlled substances were addressed.

A spokeswoman for Swedish said the items cited in the report were not directly related to the Allen case. After the hospital was resurveyed, Swedish was found to have zero deficiencies. On Wednesday night, the spokeswoman was not able to provide specifics about the citations.

Allen, who was arrested and charged in February after being indicted by a federal grand jury, is charged with one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count obtaining a controlled substance by deceit. He could be sentenced up to 14 years in prison and fined up to $500,000 if convicted on both counts.

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