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After Undergoing Hemophiliac Treatment, He’s Now Battling with HIV Virus

After Undergoing Hemophiliac Treatment, He’s Now Battling with HIV Virus

Posted September. 15, 2002 23:04,   


“Pharmaceutical companies keep insisting that I got the AIDS virus from imported drugs or donations. It makes no sense because there were no imports available at that time and I have never had a blood transfusion since I started treatment in 1991.”

“They examined patients over HIV virus infection thoroughly before starting therapy. I am sure I was not infected with the virus at that time.” A 33-year-old man who got infected with AIDS while being treated for hemophiliac asked Donga Daily to investigate the case, telling his heart-breaking story in an interview on Sept. 15.

With the authorities now reopening an investigation into how 18 hemophiliacs ended up being infected with the ADIS virus, the man said “I am willing to fully cooperate with the authorities if the government or the National Assembly take actions.”

Learning he got infected with the AIDS virus, he had to quit school in 1993 when he was a sophomore in university. Since then he has lived as a social outcast. About 2 years ago, he began to develop AIDS symptoms such as red blisters and eruptions on his tongue. Because of his failing health, he often stops his car while driving to take a rest on a roadside.

“I just laughed it out when I first heard the news. I couldn’t believe it. It was like someone else’s story not mine. Hearing my parents crying and my older brother, who always took care of me despite his partially paralyzed leg, shouting at people in the pharmaceutical company, I slowly began to realize that it was happening.”

His blood plate level is only about 10% of healthy people and his kidney has shrunk. Despite doctor’s advice to go through AIDS therapy, however, he is fighting with AIDS with red ginseng and herbal medicines. AIDS treatment might help in the short run, but in the end, his body will grow resistant to the drugs and become even more helpless.

“I remember a woman whose two little children got the AIDS virus while undergoing hemophiliac treatment. The children neither were given blood transfusions nor used imported drugs. Since hemophiliac is a hereditary disease and AIDS is a stigma in our society, they were not able to seek compensations aggressively.”

He got infected with hepatitis C as well as the AIDS virus. His uncle, who is also a hemophiliac, has also long suffered from hepatitis C. According to a study conducted by the Korea Hemophiliac Foundation, about 50% of some 1,600 hemophiliacs in the nation are infected with hepatitis C.

“A man filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, but he was counter-sued by the companies for defamation and sent to prison,” he sighed.

“In advanced countries, they have used genetically-reengineered drugs for hemophiliac patients since the 1990s instead of condensing blood from thousands of people. The government authorities, however, has only listened to what pharmaceutical companies said and ignored patient demand on imports.”

Even if the investigation finds out the cause of infection, he will have to continue his battle with AIDS. “With doctors and the media paying attention, hopes are still out there. I will hang tough until the day a cure is developed.”