UKIP’s Patricia Culligan ‘sorry’ for questioning cost of HIV drugs for Lib Dem candidates

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Another of UKIP’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidates has been forced to apologise – after questioning the cost of NHS treatment for Lib Dem candidates living with HIV.

The Liberal Democrat  PPC for Vauxhall, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, spoke candidly last week about contracting HIV while suicidal.

He was followed by the party’s prospective MP for Liverpool Riverside Paul Childs – who also revealed he is also HIV positive.

Patricia Culligan, who is standing in Eastleigh for the UK Independence Party, questioned whether the NHS should be paying for “v costly” HIV medication for the candidates.

She tweeted: “2nd LibDem candidate reveals he deliberately became HIV positive yet free NHS care v costly”

Mr Childs did not deliberately become HIV positive.

After her comments sparked outrage online, Culligan has attempted to row back the row.

She later posted an apology to Facebook, stating: “Of course I want everyone of our residents to have whatever free NHS treatment they need for their illness, whatever the cost and whatever the condition.

“I apologised unreservedly as soon as I realised my mistake. I feel truly dreadful to have unwittingly offended any sufferer.

“I had misread the online newspaper article about the two Libdem parliamentary candidates who are HIV positive and not realised that only one of them, not both, had said that they had deliberately become infected.”

“Whilst anyone should get full free medical treatment regardless of cost, I hope that prevention services are also available to stop such desperation.

“I feel nothing but sympathy for anyone struggling with this terrible condition.”

She added: “I hate to think I’ve hurt the feelings of either of the unwell candidates, which I would never knowingly do.”

However, the statement appears to have since been deleted.

A UKIP spokesperson said: “We wholeheartedly support the NHS being free at the point of access and kept publicly-funded.

“We have spoken to Ms Culligan and advised her to retract the comment which seems to conflate two very separate issues.”

Ms Culligan recently pledged to entirely scrap sex and relationship education for under-11s flying in the face of a recommendation from MPs to introduce statutory, inclusive SRE.