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Blood victim’s story will be told in pioneering new Aids documentary

08:00 01 December 2016

Mark Ward. Picture: Polly Hancock

Mark Ward. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

A victim of the contaminated blood scandal will feature in a pioneering new documentary charting the Aids pandemic through the stories of those caught up in the crisis.

Royal Free Hospital patient Mark Ward was told aged 14 that he had contracted HIV from infected Factor VIII blood products used to treat him for the blood clotting disorder haemophilia.

At the time the diagnosis was a death sentence and Mark, now aged 47, did not believe he would live.

He will talk about his experience of HIV in a pioneering new film documenting the rise of the Aids pandemic in the 1980s.

The feature film will have no narrator and the story will instead be told through the oral testimony of those caught up in the crisis.

It will be created using excerpts of 100 in-depth interviews with infected men and women, including intravenous drug users, long-term survivors, carers and clinicians, friends and lovers, brothers, sisters and parents.

Many of those taking part are speaking publicly for the first time and it is hoped the interviews will form an unparalleled oral archive of the story of Aids in the UK.

Mark said: “Constantly living in the shadow of death and grief takes its toll but by taking action we can make a difference. Tackling the stigma is the biggest challenge we now face and I feel this film can play a major role in that.”

The film’s makers, life-long friends Paul Coleman and Adam Roberts, say they are proud to put on the record this powerful grass roots history.

A short preview of the documentary, which is still in the making, was screened at Channel 4 Cinema on Tuesday.

At a Q&A after the screening, the film’s makers appealed for help to raise £230,000 needed to complete the project and bring it to cinema screens.

They are also keen to hear from families who lost loved ones to Aids to take part in the filming, including parents and siblings of those who have died.

To find out more about the project visit www.AIDSsincethe80s.net or email tellyourstory@twopointzero.co.uk

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