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Hospital to help 80 AIDS victims

AUTHORITIES in a central China city will start talks today on compensating at least 80 AIDS patients who contracted HIV in a hospital because of tainted blood supplies 12 years ago.

Several patients who received blood transfusions at Daye No.2 Hospital of Hubei Province developed AIDS afterwards, Wuhan Morning Post reported today.

This is the largest single group of patients in China to contract HIV at one hospital.

Patients who had surgery between 1996 and 1997 were infected because part of the hospital's blood store was unknowingly taken from HIV-infected illegal blood sellers, said Xu Chunyang, vice head of the hospital.

Xu confirmed nearly 100 patients were infected with the incurable disease because of chaotic blood supply in the 1990s. He added that they may have passed the virus to their spouses without their knowledge. The hospital has borrowed 8 million yuan (US$1.17 million) to cover compensation, he said.

Thirty-eight-year old Hubei native Zhang Kai was the latest patient to discover he had the disease after a test last September. He told the newspaper that the diagnosis "smashed his normal life into pieces."

Neighbors and friends had shunned his family and he wasn't able to find work.


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