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Couple Attempt Suicide With Blood Samples Carrying AIDS Warning

September 21, 1988

DENVER (AP) _ A couple poured serum they thought was contaminated with the AIDS virus into self-inflicted cuts in a suicide pact after the man stole the serum from an unlocked hospital freezer, authorities said.

Eric Henriques and his wife, Dawn, who have a history of mental problems, were rushed to Denver General Hospital after the incident Monday night, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities said both cut themselves near the wrist and elbow and then apparently poured the blood serum onto their arms.

Police said Henriques took the serum, which carried labels warning of AIDS contamination, from a Denver General Hospital freezer and brought it home.

Hospital officials did not know if any of the 21 vials of stolen blood serum were drawn from AIDS-infected people. They ordered the basement freezer locked after the incident.

Some of the samples, drawn from a number of people during AIDS testing in 1986, may have contained AIDS antibodies. But the deadly virus cannot be passed through antibodies alone, hospital spokesman John Head said.

The presence of antibodies means that a person has been exposed to the AIDS virus, but it does not mean that the person has AIDS.

″There’s virtually zero chance of contamination,″ Head said.

The woman summoned officers after the suicide attempt.

Henriques, 24, was being kept in the hospital mental health ward Tuesday, while his 36-year-old wife was being treated at another mental health facility.

″He seems to be obsessed by committing suicide by infecting himself with AIDS,″ Head said.

The man may be charged with misdemeanor theft, police said.

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