Tracing the recipients of HIV infected blood


. October 1985: HIV screening tests were introduced by the BTSB. Between this date and 1994, 16 HIV positive donors were identified who had given blood before October 1985. The recipients of blood products from nine of these donors were traced by the BTSB and were negative for HIV. Thirty one blood products from the remaining seven infected donors were made and were issued between 1977 and 1985.

. 1989: A "look back" procedure, based on the BTSB's experience with hepatitis C, was introduced to trace potential HIV infection. Fifteen of the 31 products were released prior to 1981 which, health experts agree, puts them outside the period of risk of HIV infection. Dispatch records for the remaining 16 issues of suspect blood are missing and up to last night, at least 11 had not been accounted for.

. May 1996: BTSB scientific committee discussed the HIV problem.

. September 25th, 1996: BTSB contacted 45 hospitals with details of the batches of blood potentially infected with the HIV virus, but made no reference to HIV in the letter, only to hepatitis.

. December 9th, 1996: It was announced that a nurse working at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny, was HIV positive as a result of a blood transfusion she received in 1985 for anaemia. She discovered she was infected when she became ill while on holiday abroad.