Army patrols subjected a haemophiliac infected with HIV by contaminated blood products to “sickening abuse”, a public inquiry has heard.
The man, one of two haemophiliac brothers who both died following HIV infection, was living in a rural Catholic community and feared the stigma associated with the disease in the 1980s.
The Infected Blood Inquiry, sitting in Belfast, heard that details of his condition were leaked locally, and the abuse he received made him suicidal.
In a statement to the inquiry, the man’s doctor said: “As a general note, living in a rural Catholic community with a diagnosis of HIV must have been terrible. Possibly it was why the HIV status was kept so confidential.
“I am aware however that someone leaked the information locally and the Army patrols learned of the HIV. They hounded [him] by shouting sickening verbal abuse related to homosexuality. I guess the soldiers would never have heard of haemophilia and drew completely the wrong conclusions. He felt desperately hemmed in and wished to commit suicide.”
The man, who cannot be named because his sisters have chosen to give evidence anonymously, died in 1999. His brother died in 1995, 12 weeks after being admitted to hospital having hurt his toe.
They had both been treated with contaminated Factor VIII, a clotting agent made from concentrated blood plasma.
The men’s sisters said they believed their brothers had been “murdered”, and described the guilt felt by their parents, who had administered Factor VIII to their sons at home.
“Dad was riddled with guilt. They were giving the injections at home, they think they injected their sons with HIV, but they trusted, they thought they were helping them.
“Our brothers were murdered, they gave them dirty blood, they knew what it was but they went ahead anyway, they were murdered.”