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A Brief History of HIV & Hepatitis C

On January 25th 2017 Welsh Government vote unanimously in favour of a UK wide Public Inquiry into contaminated blood.

On July 11th 2017 Theresa May announced a Public Inquiry into contaminated blood

January 2018 Justice Langstaff is appointed as Chair of the Inquiry.

Wales has a long history of campaigning for a Public Inquiry into contaminated blood but it has taken over 30 years to achieve.

In 1999 in Ireland the Lindsay Tribunal recommended a full care and compensation package for Irish Haemophiliacs. Successive British Governments have refused to hold a Public Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the contaminated blood disaster. Lord Alf Morris of Manchester and Lord Peter Archer of Sandwell set up the Archer Inquiry in 2007, a privately funded Inquiry which reported in 2009 and recommended a full care and compensation package in line with Ireland.

Blood safety warnings were ignored

Lord Robert Winston said this was “The worst medical treatment disaster in the history of the NHS “There is a deeply felt need by patients, relatives and friends for the enormity of the contaminated blood disaster to be recognised and explained. Lord Alf Morris ‘The People’s parliamentarian’ campaigned tirelessly for Haemophiliacs remains an inspiration for campaigners.

Lord Alf Morris

In the 1970s and 1980s 283 patients in Wales were infected with Hepatitis C and of those 55 were also infected with HIV through Factor concentrates made from imported pooled plasma; in Wales alone over 70 Haemophiliacs have died. Nearly 5,000 Haemophiliacs were infected nationally and of those over 2000 have died. This was a devastating blow to the Haemophilia community. Haemophilia Wales is committed to campaigning for increased care and financial support for victims, their families and dependants.

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a viral disorder that can destroy a certain type of white blood cells and can cause Aids. Infection by HIV eventually results in progressive deterioration of the body’s immune system, allowing infections to develop. Currently there is no vaccine for HIV.

Hepatitis C is a complicated virus. It has at least 9 main subtypes, called genotypes. The Hepatitis C virus is one of the most common causes of liver disease in the world today. Haemophilia Wales is committed to ensuring that everyone with Hepatitis C in Wales has access to specialist Hepatology (Liver specialist) opinion and access to new Hepatitis C drugs.