Pensioners in scare over HIV

The director of the Elpis hospital in central Athens said yesterday that an investigation had begun into whether two pensioners who had been treated at the hospital may have contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from a blood transfusion. Giorgos Epitropakis said the hospital was told on Tuesday that a man who donated blood at Elpis for his mother’s operation in February had contracted HIV. The hospital informed both pensioners of the problem and an initial test on a 75-year-old man proved negative but doctors are waiting for results of further tests. The other pensioner, aged 70, has not come in for testing, Epitropakis said. Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in March asked hospitals to update their blood screening after a 17-year-old girl and 76-year-old man in Thessaloniki contracted HIV from the blood of an infected donor. The test at Elpis only detects HIV if it has been contracted four weeks or more from when the blood is examined.