JAPAN

Sunday 31 March 1996

Horrifying details about the health ministry's negligence and connivance in spreading the Hiv among nearly 2,000 haemophiliacs in the country, have come to light after more than a decade.

The revelations came after Naoto Kan, Japan's health and welfare minister and also . an AIDS-issues activist, ordered a probe. Kan later apologised to the nation's haemophiliacs, who were infected with Hiv after using. contaminated blood products. About 400 haemophiliacs have died Of AIDS. Most Of the victims contracted the virus between July 1983 and July 1985, when the health ministry reverted its decision to use blood products that were heated to destroy the HIV. I The disclosure is likely to end a long-drawn law-suit, filed by around 200 Hiv-affected haemophiliacs against the government and five drug companies involved in the distribution of blood products.

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