Vatican rejects HIV claim

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The Independent Online
ROME (Reuter) - The Vatican yesterday rebuked a television personality who suggested that a viral infection the Pope contracted from blood transfusions after he was shot in 1981 was linked to the Aids virus.

Mino Damato said on an Italian television programme marking World Aids Day that the Pope had developed a virus which was 'often associated with HIV and Aids sufferers'.

A Vatican spokesman said it had been announced after the assassination attempt in St Peter's square that the Pope had contracted cytomegalovirus, or CMV. He said the Pope had fully recovered from the virus, one of the herpes group which scientists say is usually harmless. Research has shown the virus is carried by up to 80 per cent of the population.

'It appears to me that to present these facts now as news, while talking about another sickness that is clinically different, is superficial and forced,' the spokesman said.