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Tower Hamlets Aids hospital to be rebuilt

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:15 05 October 2010

AN EAST End hospital for HIV patients is being rebuilt to help sufferers battling with brain damage as a result of the infection. Mildmay Mission Hospital which was Europe s first HIV and Aids hospice and was made famous during a visit by Princess Di

AN EAST End hospital for HIV patients is being rebuilt to help sufferers battling with brain damage as a result of the infection.

Mildmay Mission Hospital which was Europe's first HIV and Aids hospice and was made famous during a visit by Princess Diana who controversially shook a patient's hand, will be torn down to make way for a rehabilitation centre.

Built in 1892, the building in Hackney Road, Bethnal Green, was once a mission hospital for East Enders but it was not until the late 1980s when it first opened its doors to Aids sufferers.

According to experts, the development of new drugs means HIV patients are living longer but a new problem is emerging as sufferers battle with Aids dementia or some sort of cognitive impairment as their bodies and brains gradually deteriorate.

And now that the Mildmay charity has become the only organisation in Europe specialising in caring for people with HIV-related brain impairment, it needs a new home for its 16 inpatients and 60 day patients.

Mildmay chief executive Fi McLachlan said: "As time and medicine have moved on, the needs of people living with HIV in the UK have changed and Mildmay's focus has changed with it.

"Unfortunately, the hospital in its current state could not meet these needs and the expense of running and maintaining such an old and huge building was drawing funds away from the patients."

The new 24-bed centre was given planning permission last month and is due to be opened in 2012.

In the meantime, a 16-bed centre has been set up in a purpose-built unit in Austin Street.

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