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Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are known to be suffering from AIDS, and how many to be HIV positive, as a result of receiving a transfusion of whole blood before screening was introduced in October 1985; how many such infected people have already died; and whether the Government's compensation scheme for haemophiliacs will be extended to cover such people.

The position at the end of September 1989, as reported to the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, is that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there have been 15 cases of AIDS in people known to have been transfused in the United Kingdom, of whom 13 are known to be dead. Fourteen of the 15 are known to have been transfused before October1985, the remaining person was transfused in 1985 but the month is unknown. Of 17 known HIV seropositives transfused in the United Kingdom, 13 were transfused before October 1985, and 4 at a date as yet unknown. There are also 45 known seropositives whose country of transfusion is still under investigation.The Government grants to provide financial assistance for haemophiliacs with HIV infection are ex-gratia payments and not compensation. These payments recognise the wholly exceptional combination of circumstances affecting those haemophiliacs.We have no plans to extend the remit of the MacFarlane Trust to include those who are now HIV positive as a result of "whole" blood transfusions.