Friday, October 10, 2014

AFP: Record million-euro payout for Romania child AIDS victim

A Romanian woman who contracted HIV as a baby in hospital in 1990 will receive one million euros in compensation after a landmark court decision in the country with Europe's highest number of child AIDS victims.

Bacau Hospital in northeast Romania has been ordered to pay 4.6 million lei (1 million euros, $1.3 million) to the unnamed woman on Friday following an unprecedented 10-year trial, a judicial source told AFP.

The woman is one of more than 13,600 AIDS cases in Romania, of which more than 8,000 were children under 14 when they were diagnosed.

Activists say thousands caught the virus as a result of blood transfusions in hospitals where blood was not tested and needles were not sterilised.

"This is an important moral reparation for all of us," said Iulian Petre, president of the National Union of Organisations of Persons Infected/ Affected by HIV/AIDS in Romania.

"For the first time, the courts have recognised that these children were contaminated in a hospital, something the health authorities have always refused to admit," he added.

The pro-life politics of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was overthrown in 1989, meant tens of thousands of children were abandoned in orphanages.

With the Communist country mired in poverty, many orphans suffered from malnutrition and doctors were often brought in to carry out "fortifying" transfusions.

The blood was rarely tested for AIDS and often the same syringe was used for several children.

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