Who was Kevin Slater? Cwmbran man 'first UK haemophiliac identified as AIDS patient'

Kevin Slater, from Cwmbran, was just 20 when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1983 after receiving infected blood.

An inquiry has described a man from Cwmbran as the first haemophiliac in the UK to test positive with HIV and die of AIDS.

Kevin Slater was just 20 when he was diagnosed with the virus in 1983. He died two years later, aged 22.

The Infected Blood Inquiry heard that neither Mr Slater not his family were ever told that doctors suspected he had AIDS – only learning about the diagnosis after his death in 1985.

The family’s tragedy was compounded three years later when Kevin’s brother Paul - also a haemophiliac - was also diagnosed with AIDS. He died in 1998, aged 30.

Now Paul’s partner, Lynda Maule, is calling for "justice" for victims of the scandal.

Describing Kevin as "the most outgoing person I’ve met", Ms Maule spoke of the toll taken on the family by watching his deterioration.

"It was difficult to see him in the position he was in and not know exactly what was wrong with him.

"He was never the biggest of people and to see the weight dropping off him and the way he was suffering was beyond...

"His mum doted on both the boys, they were her life. For her to sit there and not be able to do anything for them to help... How would you feel if your child was ill and not be able to do anything to help?

"It’s not an easy thing to go through. But she stayed strong for her boys."

Kevin Slater began developing symptoms of AIDS in 1983.

The Infected Blood Inquiry, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, is looking at how patients treated by the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s received infected blood and blood products.

In total, 4,689 NHS patients were given Hepatitis C from infected blood products. More than 1,000 patients developed HIV - an untreatable disease at the time.

Thousands more were infected with Hepatitis from blood transfusions. 3,000 people who were given infected products have since died.

On Tuesday, the inquiry heard evidence that Professor Arthur Bloom, the consultant in charge of the Cardiff Haemophilia Centre, knew that Kevin Slater had AIDS after he developed symptoms in 1983.

The inquiry was shown a document from April 1983 where the professor described Mr Slater as having "probable AIDS".

Notes from a later meeting quoted Professor Bloom as saying Kevin had "mild possible AIDS", but that the problem needed to be kept "in perspective" and that there was "no justification" to ban the import of blood products used to treat haemophiliacs.

But Lynda Maule said the family was never told about Professor Bloom’s suspicions.

"Information was withheld. Tests were being done without Kevin’s knowledge. Without even speaking to his parents, letting them know what they suspected or thought. There was just nothing.

"It’s one big scandal. Why did they have to cover it up? They weren’t to blame for giving the infected blood at the time. But when they got reports of what was going on they still continued to give out that treatment."

Professor Arthur Bloom died in 1992.

Lynda - who had a daughter with Paul Slater - said that losing her partner has been tough on them both.

She now wants to see accountability for the scandal that continues to claim lives today.

"[I just want someone] to look up and say 'we did wrong by these people. We had more evidence than we were willing to give out'," she said.

"Just for someone to hold their hand up and say 'we're sorry - we knew more than we let on.

"I want some form of justice for the victims and for what we’ve been through since."

The Inquiry is due to report back with its findings next year.