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Victims of HIV blood "undiagnosed"

People who contracted HIV in the contaminated blood "disaster" 20 years ago could still be unaware of their condition, an inquiry has heard.

The independent inquiry into how thousands of people were exposed to HIV and hepatitis C during NHS treatment in the 80s also heard they could have unknowingly infected others with the disease.

More than 2,000 haemophiliacs died as a result of exposure to the fatal viruses in what fertility expert Lord Winston dubbed "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS".

The Eileen Trust was set up in 1993 to support people who contracted HIV during the scandal, but do not have blood disorders.

It now has 27 members, but its chairman Peter Stevens warns this could only be the tip of the iceberg.

He told the inquiry in central London: "We have people coming to us who have had HIV for more than 20 years, but have never had medical attention.

"I cannot believe that the last registrant who arrived several months ago will be the last. There are others out there who have HIV and are in the community, who may be married. I think it is a very serious problem."

Mr Stevens said he suggested to the Department of Health that it should highlight the issue, and this resulted in one brief mention in the Chief Medical Officer's bulletin.

Department of Health

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