A haemophiliac who has already been infected with a range of life-threatening conditions, including the Aids virus, was challenging a health authority's refusal to fund treatment he regards as ''safe'' today.

Peter Longstaff, 45, from West Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, has also been exposed, through receiving contaminated transfusions, to blood prions which could cause new variant CJD.

Today he was seeking judicial review before Mr Justice Charles at London's High Court of a decision of Newcastle NHS Primary Care Trust refusing his request for treatment for haemophilia A with synthetic Recombinant Factor VIII.

The hospital authority was following Department of Health guidelines issued in March 1998 that only haemophilia A patients aged under 16 and new patients, not previously treated with plasma-based blood clotting products, should receive Recombinant Factor VIII.

As a result of contracting various infections whilst being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, Mr Longstaff decided in 2000 to refuse further treatment with Factor VIII derived from human blood plasma - made from thousands of individual blood donations - on the grounds that it had proved impossible to guarantee the safety of the product.

At a recent hearing, a judge was told the case was urgent as his situation was ''gradually deteriorating'' and time was important.

The judge also heard 95 haemophiliac patients treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, had tested positive for HIV infection in recent years, and 78 had died.

Mr Longstaff was in ''the surviving group of 17''.

He had also contracted hepatitis B, diagnosed in the mid-1980s, hepatitis C in 1994. Hepatitis G and the HIV Aids virus were diagnosed about 1985.

The judge refused to order the hospital Trust to fund treatment with Recombinant Factor VIII, which the court heard was double the cost of its plasma-based alternative, pending the outcome of today's legal challenge.

The judge said the management team had agreed to provide it if Mr Longstaff suffered a life-threatening bleed, and to order treatment now would be to pre-empt the outcome of the legal challenge.