The Archer Inquiry into the contaminated blood and blood product disaster has published its report. The Inquiry was investigating the hepatitis and HIV infection of almost 5,000 people with bleeding disorders and many more through blood transfusions in the 1970s and 1980s.
The privately funded Inquiry was not able to pay the transport or accommodation costs of the affected witnesses who gave evidence. Building on a long standing working relationship the Haemophilia Society approached the Elton John AIDS Foundation to fund giving grants to make sure that nobody was excluded from giving evidence as a result of their financial circumstances.
Carol Grayson (Haemophilia Action UK) says "I am very grateful to the Elton John AIDS Foundation for the financial support given to campaigners including myself, the widow of a haemophiliac, to travel from Newcastle to London to give evidence at the Archer Public Inquiry. I would otherwise have been unable to attend existing on £59 benefit a week. For me personally the process was very important as I gave both a personal account of my life with my husband who was infected with HIV/HCV following plasma treatment and also submitted my Masters dissertation on the contamination of our community and the politics of the global blood trade which has now been short-listed for the Michael Young Research Prize. It was also essential that I hear all testimonies presented so that I could submit further documentation to support others or challenge claims made by certain organisations if necessary. Attending the Archer Inquiry is also helping me find some closure on this issue."
Andrew March (Tainted Blood) also praised EJAF saying "As a person with haemophilia and a recipient of the continued support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, I have been able to develop into a confident campaigner and someone who is ready and willing to go into the public spotlight. A few years back, I came to the conclusion that the only way to combat the years of stigma I had endured over my HIV status, which I've been aware of since the age of 9, was to transfer my life completely into the light; and get everything out in the open and put an end to living in the shadows. The campaign and the arrival of the Archer Inquiry into Contaminated Blood and Blood Products was the logical vehicle for this."