[BAD BLOOD screens February 24th at 7pm at the Capitol Theatre]
Review by Eddie Fleisher
BAD BLOOD is a shocking documentary about 10,000 American hemophiliacs who, in the early 1980's, were unknowingly exposed to HIV. Prior to the '60's, hemophilia - a blood clotting disorder - was considered a fatal disease. But when factor concentrates were introduced, many saw it as a miracle cure. These concentrates were derived from human blood (from a pool of over 60,000 donors), and were sold through drug companies for home use by patients. The FDA approved it quickly, without concern over the risks involved, which initially included Hepatitis. The thinking at the time was that such risks were worth it, due to the drastic improvement in the lives of hemophiliacs.
But then, all hell broke lose. HIV began to surface in the early '80s, and worries grew over whether the virus had infected the blood supply that was used for the concentrates. Doctors, advocacy groups, the FDA, and the drug companies continued to advise patients to continue their treatments. Because of this, over 10,000 people were infected with HIV.
The documentary explores multiple facets of the disaster, from discussing who may have been responsible for it, why it wasn't reported properly, and what can be done to prevent it from ever happening again. However, BAD BLOOD's biggest asset is its personal connection with those who were affected by it. The interviews with family members and patients are heartbreaking. Thousands of people counted on the treatment as a lifesaving breakthrough, but instead were given a death sentence. Marilyn Ness' documentary is an eye opening expose that needs to be seen. 3 out of 4 stars.