Eve van Grafhorst

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Eve van Grafhorst (17 July 1982 – 20 November 1993) was one of the first Australian children to be infected with HIV via a blood transfusion. She became the centre of a storm of controversy in 1985 when she was banned from her local pre-school amid fears she might infect other children.

Van Grafhorst was born prematurely in 1982, and required eleven blood transfusions to save her life. The eleventh transfusion was contaminated, and van Grafhorst contracted HIV.

When van Grafhorst's parents attempted to enroll her in a Kincumber, New South Wales pre-school in July 1985, the parents of other preschoolers threatened to withdraw their children, saying that young Eve posed a grave threat of infection.[1] van Grafhorst was eventually permitted to attend school, provided she wore a plastic face-mask at all times; some parents suggested that this was not sufficient, and that the van Grafhorsts should leave town.[2]

The van Grafhorsts did indeed leave town, moving to Hastings, New Zealand in 1986.[3] In contrast to their Australian experience, the van Grafhorst family was welcomed; Eve lived a relatively normal life and attended a local school without incident.

In 1992 she received the Variety Gold Heart Award. She died in 1993, aged 11 years. Her story had been widely reported throughout the world, and on her tenth birthday, Eve was sent a letter and signed photograph from Diana, Princess of Wales. After Eve died, her mother Gloria received a letter from Diana praising Eve for her "courage and strength".[4]

Anti-retroviral treatments became available in New Zealand in about 1997. New Zealand's annual death toll from all AIDS-related conditions fell from the mid-80s in 1993 to three to four by 2008.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Denying the Grim Reaper: Australian Responses to AIDS, Paul Sendziuk, Eureka Street. Accessed 27 August 2005.
  2. ^ "Minister fires on Destiny Church". New Zealand Herald. 17 August 2004. 
  3. ^ a b "Angel Eve helped cut Aids deaths". stuff.co.nz. 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.aids.net.au/news-diana.htm

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