Fear of HIV contamination after teenager stabs 35
Monday 29 May 2006
Victims of a Berlin knifeman who injured 35 people in a knife frenzy late on Friday night are living in fear of contracting the Aids virus after it was discovered one of the knifeman's first targets was HIV positive.
Most of the injured who were attacked after the opening of Berlin's new railway station are now frantic with worry. They will have to live with the anxiety of possibly being infected for at least three months until tests prove positive or negative.
So will those who stopped to give help to the wounded as they lay in shop doorways, in the foyers of apartment blocks and on the streets and who became splashed with their blood.
Six people were seriously hurt and one needed a life-saving operation after the attacks shortly before midnight on Friday at the gala opening of the station.
The 16-year-old assailant, named only as Mike P, has a police record for violence after beating up a school friend. He used a butterfly knife to stab 35 people in the crowds of sightseers.
They had gathered earlier in the day to watch Chancellor Angela Merkel declare the new £500m Hauptbahnhof - the single greatest post-Cold War construction project in Germany - officially open.
The stabbings come during a tense period in Germany, which is reeling from a rise in neo-Nazi violence against black people that culminated in three more attacks in a 24-hour period last week.
Police say the man lunged and stabbed at the audience around him for 10 minutes, many could not escape because of the packed crowd.
The fear is that the Aids virus may have been passed on to several victims as one of the first to be attacked is infected with HIV. Victims have been given anti-viral drugs but experts warned they are not 100 per-cent effective against HIV.
"We can confirm that one of the first victims came forward to inform us he was HIV positive," said a police spokesman. "The more blood there was on the knife, the deeper the wound, the greater the risk of contracting Aids," said Professor Hans-Dieter Klenk, the director of the Virus Institute at the University of Marburg and an authority on Aids.
Professor Klenk added: "The few hours after the wound there is a possibility that an anti-viral medication can be taken to prevent infection setting in.
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