1980s-90s: Contamination from Blood-Derived Products

When factor products made from donated blood were first introduced in the 1960s, the treatment of hemophilia was revolutionized. Almost overnight, rather than requiring hospitalization for bleeds, a bleed could be treated at home by the patient/family. The pain associated with bleeding was greatly reduced, and many patients were able to lead a greatly improved quality of life.

Unfortunately, by the early 1980s, it was discovered that these blood-derived products were contaminated with infectious viruses such as hepatitis and HIV, and over the next decade, thousands of people with hemophilia died or became infected.

Although many of those who received contaminated factor product during the 1980s succumbed to their illnesses, not all did. Today, those survivors may still have these co-existing illnesses such as hepatitis or HIV.

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, improved blood donor screening, product testing, and purification techniques largely removed the risk of viruses being transmitted in blood-derived products. Today with the wide availability of recombinant products and products made from US-sourced blood undergoing multiple rounds of purification and testing, the risk of factor transmitting any virus is very low.

Learn about hepatitis and hemophilia

Read about HIV and hemophilia