In the 1970's and 1980's people with Haemophilia and other bleeding disorders were treated with a new 'wonder treatment'. Plasma products revolutionised the treatment of bleeding disorders but at a terrible cost.
Each batch of the new products were made using the blood donated by thousands of individuals. If even one of the donors was carrying Hepatitis C or HIV then the whole batch could become infectious.
During this period almost 5,000 people with bleeding disorders were exposed to the contaminated blood products and contracted Hepatitis C. Approximately 1,200 of them also contracted HIV. Many people were not told they were infected or warned against having unprotected sex. This lead to a further 57 wives and partners being infected with HIV.
The UK Government has not published the causes of death in every case but we now know that approximately 2,000 people have died following their exposure to Hepatitis C, with 840 of those who have died so far having being infected with HIV.
Many of those affected worry that there were other infections in these blood products - in particular vCJD. Approximately, 4,500 people with bleeding disorders in the UK have been told that they are 'at risk for public health purposes' in relation to vCJD. This means a new generation of people with bleeding disorders is having to face the possibility that they have been exposed to a fatal infection in their treatment.