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Iranian Officials to Go on Trial over HIV-Tainted Blood

TEHRAN, Iran, June 7, 1999 (AFP) - Several former directors of Iran's state-run blood transfusion body are to go on trial over the deaths of hemophiliac children who received blood contaminated with human immune-deficiency virus (HIV). The officials will appear in court on Wednesday following complaints by the families of the children over blood transfusions two years ago, the Neshat newspaper reported yesterday. It have no details about the number of officials or the victims or their identity. Most of the victims contracted AIDS and died. The first case of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Iran was registered in 1985 after a one-year-old infant was infected through a blood transfusion. Some 1,500 people, mostly drug-addicts, are registered as HIV-positive and of them 200 have contracted AIDS, according to official figures. A total of 160 people have died of the disease.

Iranian official plays down HIV contaminated blood scandal

TEHRAN, Iran, June 7, 1999 (AFP) -- The head of Iran's blood transfusion body Monday played down fears over the possibility that his organisation provided HIV contaminated blood, as several of his former colleagues face trial over the issue. The charges against former top officials of the state-run transfusion organisation are based on "allegations," which remain to be proved, director Taqi Khani told Tehran radio. "The charges do not concern blood, rather blood products which may have been contaminated through poor disinfectant methods," he said. The trial, due to start on Wednesday, has been instigated by the families of children -- most of them haemophiliacs -- who contracted AIDS after receiving blood contaminated with HIV. The first case of AIDS in Iran was registered in 1985 after a one-year-old infant was infected after receiving a transfusion of imported blood. Official figures show a gradual spread of AIDS in Iran. Some 1,500 people, mostly drug-addicts, are registered as HIV-positive and of them 200 have contracted AIDS. A total of 160 people have died of the disease. Human Immune-deficiency Virus is for the most part transmitted in Iran through sexual contact and the use of contaminated needles by drug addicts, particularly in prison. The Islamic republic launched a campaign to prevent the spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in the early 1990s.

Aids victims, relatives sue Iran's blood transfusion organisation

TEHRAN, Iran, May 4, 1998 , (IRAN Weekly Press Digest) -- A number of Iranians infected with the Aids virus through blood transfusion and their relatives have filed a suit against Iran's Blood Transfusion Organisation (IBTO), a newspaper reported Monday. Hearings began in the case at a special court in Tehran, where three women, five men, four adolescents and two children appeared along with a number of IBTO officials, Resalat newspaper said. An elderly man complained that his 24-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter had died of Aids after being injected with blood provided by the organisation, it said. Another plaintiff said he and his brother, both haemophiliacs, had been infected with the human immune- deficiency virus which can lead to aids after receiving domestically- produced blood. "My brother has already died, leaving his family without a source of income," said the man, who was not identified. An elderly woman who had developed full-blown Aids following a blood transfusion said her "reputation is all destroyed" and called for the culprits to be given the "maximum punishment." A mother said two of her children, both haemophiliacs, had also developed Aids after receiving blood. They all blamed the IBTO and the Health Ministry for their plight and complained that no insurance company or government agency was prepared to pay for their treatment. According to official figures, around 1,230 Iranians, mostly intravenous drug users, have been diagnosed as carriers of the HIV virus, 186 of whom have developed full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A total of 155 people have died of the disease. The first case of the disease was recorded in 1985, a one-year-old baby who received a transfusion of imported blood. The Iranian authorities have banned blood imports since then.