Rep. Price Introduces Bill That Would Compensate Individuals Who Contracted HIV Through Blood Transfusions
Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) has introduced legislation (HR 2837) that would compensate people who contracted HIV from contaminated blood transfusions and other medical procedures, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Price introduced the legislation -- known as the Steve Grissom Relief Fund Act after a North Carolina man who contracted HIV while undergoing treatment for leukemia -- shortly before the House adjourned for its August recess (Wagner, Raleigh News & Observer, 8/1). The measure would establish a fund that would provide money to patients who received HIV-tainted transfusions or transplants and were infected by the products or procedures. In 1998, former President Clinton signed legislation (HR 1023) that provided financial assistance to hemophiliacs who contracted HIV through blood transfusions. That law created the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund, which awarded $100,000 to individuals with blood-clotting disorders who contracted HIV from contaminated blood products between 1982 and 1987. Certain spouses and children who contracted HIV from these individuals were also eligible to receive payments. However, the Ricky Ray Fund only applied to hemophiliacs and did not extend financial assistance to non-hemophiliacs who contracted HIV through blood transfusions or organ transplants (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/24/02). "Americans who have contracted AIDS through HIV-contaminated products deserve the same consideration regardless of whether they are hemophiliacs," Price said, adding, "We owe it to people like Steve Grissom and their survivors to try and compensate for this terrible tragedy." Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) introduced a similar bill last year, but it failed to pass. Edwards said on Thursday that he had reintroduced the bill in the Senate, according to the News & Observer (Raleigh News & Observer, 8/1).
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