World Aids Day Must Remember those Infected Through Tainted Blood

December 1, 2007 12:00 AM

Today (Saturday), Jenny Willott MP called on the Government to recognise the plight of 400 survivors out of 1,200 people who were infected with HIV through contaminated blood products given to them under the NHS during the 1980s, by providing adequate financial support for them.

This month, the Department of Health rejected a bid by Trustees to increase funding by £4m, money that would have ensured that all those infected would have been able to meet their needs. Instead the DoH offered just 10% of that figure.

Lord Archer of Sandwell QC, is currently heading up an independent public inquiry into the broader issue of how thousands of people were infected with HIV, hepatitis C and other viruses through blood products under the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"Successive Governments have treated this group of people, who were infected with HIV through no fault of their own, appallingly.

"During the 1980s, people assumed that HIV sufferers would not survive for very long, so the money put forward to support them was very limited. But today, 400 out of over 1,000 infected with HIV through blood products given to them under the NHS have survived though they continue to face terrible financial hardship.

"On World Aids Day, we need to remember those suffering from this terrible disease both abroad, and those at home. The Government has a duty to ensure people infected with life-threatening diseases through the NHS and through no fault of their own, are properly cared for and not left to struggle on in poverty."

Chris James, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, said:

"The evidence given by the MacFarlane Trust to the Archer Inquiry made it perfectly clear that the Department of Health have not given them the resources they need to meet the needs of almost 400 people infected with HIV as the result of NHS treatment.

"World AIDS Day is a fantastic opportunity for the Department to look again at the support they offer to all people infected with contaminated blood products and properly fulfil their moral responsibility to them."

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