Before 1965, hemophilia was treated with a slow transfusion of whole blood or fresh frozen plasma. In 1965, a plasma extract called cryoprecipitate became available that made Hemophilia A treatment much easier and more effective. By the early 1970s, clotting factor for Hemophilia A and B became available in a concentrated, freeze-dried form. However, because the clotting factor was made from the blood of many donors, the majority of those with hemophilia were infected with hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) and with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.
The Federal government recognized this national tragedy in 1998 with the passage of the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act which provided compassionate payments to people with hemophilia who had contracted HIV from the use of contaminated blood products. Since 1987, no persons with hemophilia have become HIV positive from clotting factor. In 1992, the first recombinant DNA derived clotting factor for use in persons with hemophilia A was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However new and emerging viruses pose potential new threats to the safety of the blood supply and blood products. HFA believes the bleeding disorders community must remain vigilant in holding the federal government and drug manufacturers accountable for keeping blood and blood products safe.