January 9, 2019, Toronto. A new CBC TV historical drama series, Unspeakable, started today which follows the lives of a couple hemophiliac children who contracted HIV/AIDS through a blood product, the lifesaving “clotting factor” they had to inject regularly to stay alive.
Each batch incorporated the blood of several thousand donors. Often one or more of these donors had HIV, which would taint the batch. As we now know, another deadly disease, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), was also spread in the same way, through the same tainted blood. HIV killed many more people and far more quickly than HCV, so HIV understandably got people’s attention first. Now that HIV is largely controlled by medications known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV is rapidly becoming a treatable chronic disease instead of a deadly one, at least in countries that are able to provide their citizens with the life-saving therapy.
On the other hand, though HCV is now totally curable with medications known as direct acting antivirals (DAAs), HCV-related cirrhosis, liver failure, and cancer (especially liver cancer) is still killing many people who either have not been treated, or get treated too late, after too much damage has occurred. The chances of a Canadian dying from HCV (approximately 5 deaths per year per 100,000 people) has surpassed that of dying from HIV since 2006 (Ly, et al. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012; 156:271-278):The repercussions of this blood scandal upon Canadian public health, a contaminated blood “pool”, challenges us to this day, especially among our IVDU population. The series’ creator, Robert C. Cooper, is a hemophiliac who contracted hepatitis C from transfusions he received in the 1980s. We recommend this series highly.
Watch the Series Here: https://watch.cbc.ca/media/unspeakable/season-1/episode-1/38e815a-00ffcadc7fb