World AIDS Day
Written by Aaron Dennis, December 1, 2022
Today is World AIDS Day and we remember all those in our community who were infected with HIV through contaminated blood products.
In the early 1980s, 1,243 people with bleeding disorders, mainly haemophilia, were infected with HIV through contaminated factor concentrate treatment. Of those, 380 were children. Subsequently, at least 70 wives and partners were unwittingly infected too. Very sadly, three quarters of those infected have now died. Almost 40 years on, many of our members still keep their HIV infection secret because of the stigma associated with the condition.
Lee Moorey and Adrian Goodyear both have severe haemophilia and were infected with HIV as schoolboys at Treloar’s College in Hampshire. Many of their childhood friends were also infected and have now died. Lee said: ‘World AIDS Day is always a day for remembrance and reflection. I often think of my friends who died, but today heightens that. There’s always a feeling of survivor’s guilt, that I’m still here and they’re not.’
Adrian added: ‘When I come to London to attend the Infected Blood Inquiry, I notice the students from the university nearby. They have their whole future ahead of them, and I’m glad about that, but I look at them and think it should have been us – me and my school friends – with a bright future too, but HIV destroyed that. On World AIDS Day I remember my friends’ bravery and their dreams which I carry with me on our collective path to justice.’
World AIDS Day is a day for remembrance and reflection. There’s always a feeling of survivor’s guilt, that I’m still here and they’re not.Lee Moorey
Today over 105,000 people live with HIV in the UK. Yet recent research from the National AIDS Trust found 63% of the public do not remember seeing or hearing about HIV in the past six months. Only a third said they have sympathy for people living with HIV regardless of how they acquired it.
Kate Burt, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: ‘On this day, we remember all those in our community who were infected through contaminated blood products, including beloved partners who were unwittingly infected too. Our thoughts are with those who loved and cared for those who died from AIDS and those who live with HIV today, many of whom carry the guilt of survival on their shoulders.
‘This is the last World AIDS Day before the Infected Blood Inquiry makes its final report, which we hope will finally deliver justice to those infected with HIV and those whose loved ones died from AIDS.’
Next year will mark 40 years since the first case of someone with haemophilia to contract AIDS through contaminated blood products in the UK was reported. The Infected Blood Inquiry, which was announced in 2017, has been investigating how men, women and children treated by the NHS were given infected blood and blood products in the 1970s and 80s. The inquiry is expected to make its final report in mid-2023.
You can find out more about World AIDS Day here.
Read More: World AIDS Day – Mark Ward