ON WORLD AIDS DAY WE REMEMBER
On June 5, 1981 the first case of AIDS was diagnosed in a
person with Hemophilia. For the blood disorder community
this was the beginning of a horrific nightmare for the patients
and their families that continues to this day. For the
Hemophilia community who numbered 20,000 in the 1980's
over half 10,000 were killed by AIDS and the co-infection
Hepatitis C and many more were infected with these insidious
diseases that they must battle every day for the rest of their
lives How could this happen? And who was the perpetrator
of this despicable act.
Hemophilia is a clotting disorder that one out of every 5,000
males are born with in this country. People with this disease
are missing a "Key protein" that contributes to the clotting
of blood when the body sustains trauma. This protein or
factor is produced in the liver and only in the last 30 years
have Doctors discovered that only a liver transplant can cure
In the late 1960's a new medication produced from human
blood donation was developed that when injected would
stop bleeding for hemorrhages that are life threatening and
destructive to organs and joints of the Hemophiliac.
A miracle drug that was to become a vicious killer when
power and greed are allowed to run rampant and unchecked.
Factor 8 and Factor 9 the blood product that was supposed to give
all of us a better life was sabotaged by the worst natures
of executives at the pharmaceutical companies who produced
this drug. Companies most notably Baxter Hyland and Bayer
accepted blood taken from people in prison and other
highly questionable sources pooled it so that many donors
would be in the same batch and produced Factorate for
people with Hemophilia. This tainted product (which was
monopolized by the few drug companies who manufactured
it) was then marketed with the intent of convincing patients
it was safe, could be used often (even prophylacticly) and
became over time not only the most effective product in
controlling bleeding but basically the only medication
any Hemophiliac in this country could use.
As the community continued to infuse this product through its
veins it was playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette.
On June 5, 1981 the War on Blood had begun.
Today, thirty years later we as a community continue
to bury our dead and pick up our wounded but sadly
we do it alone.
Despite numerous efforts to bring this national tragedy to
light we cannot awaken
a sleeping nation to the carnage left
by this blood terrorist action against these Americans.
We do not have a national memorial and there has not been
one American President in this country willing to give
comfort to the Mothers, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters
who lost loved ones.
What we do have is an open wound with no closure and a
bleeding inhumanity that can and will happen again if
all of us do not remain vigilant.
Two days in American history 9/11/2001 and 6/5/1981
but today only one we are encouraged to remember and
one that has been terribly forgotten.
Note: As this story was written this past Mothers day I
dedicate it to all the Mothers who lost sons with Hemophiliac
to AIDS or Hepatitis C including Mrs Terry McNeil and Mrs
Mary Lou Murphy who collectively lost three sons to
the War on Blood.