Twenty-three Indian children with thalassemia have contracted HIV after a government-run hospital was accused of giving them blood from HIV-contaminated sources.

All the children contracted the disease from a free blood transfusion at the government-run Junagadh Civil Hospital in Junagadh district of Gujarat state in Western India between January and August, Indian Express reported.

"When we went for transfusion on August 9, the doctors asked us to get the HIV test done," said Salim Shiekh, who found out his daughter was one of 23 out of the 103 thalassemic patients at his local hospital to contract HIV. He said the result was positive, citing doctors, blood bank staff and a hospital superintendent.

Gujarat health minister Jay Narayan Vyas said there could have been multiples sources of blood, although parents said they only received transfusions from Junagadh Civil Hospital.

The Times of India reported that the patient's blood was acquired from blood banks which although tested, could have been contaminated if the blood was taken within a 'window period' during the disease. - a public organisation - recommends that HIV be taken tackled after its survey found 2.31 million where 39 pct are female and 3.5 pct children are being affected by the disease.

Furthermore, last year, the Indian Red Cross Society asked the state health department to start Nucleic Acid Test Centers - should these have been built it would have shortened any window period of donated blood that people in poorer areas have access too.