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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
B.C. to Offer Compensation to Those Given HIV-Tainted Blood

June 18, 1993
Toronto Globe and Mail (Canada) (06/17/93), P. A4

Following the lead of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, British Columbia decided to offer financial compensation to people who contracted HIV through tainted blood transfusions in the early 1980s. Health Minister Elizabeth Cull revealed the decision in the B.C. Legislature, emphasizing the importance of taking action "to redress the suffering of both individuals and their families as soon as we can." British Columbia is the fourth province to follow Nova Scotia's lead two months ago to provide compensation for those who contracted the virus through blood transfusions or blood products before mandatory testing of blood began in late 1985. Cull indicated that she has not yet determined how much compensation the government will allot, and said she hopes an agreement will be made at next week's conference in Ottawa of deputy health ministers. Cull said 115 B.C. residents have been found so far to have become infected with HIV from the blood supply. A total of 80 were hemophiliacs, while more than half of those infected--65 people--are still living. Cull said in her remarks that "even though a specific test...was licensed in March" of 1985, the testing did not begin until November. Critics have accused both provincial blood officials and the Canadian Red Cross for the eight-month delay of implementing the mandatory testing. Cull noted that Health Ministry officials will start negotiations as soon as possible with representatives of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Hemophilia Society.

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