Neighbours star Carla Bonner reveals the harrowing story of how her family was destroyed by AIDS after her father caught HIV from a blood transfusion and ‘lived his last days in shame’
Former Neighbours star Carla Bonner has revealed how AIDS tore her family apart after her father, Peter Bonner, contracted HIV from a blood transfusion.
The 48-year-old actress, who played Stephanie Scully on the long-running Australian soap, shared her story on World AIDS Day on December 1.
She revealed in a lengthy Instagram post how her dad ‘lived his last days in shame, terrified and alone’ and even had his belongings destroyed after his death due to concerns over the spread of the virus.
Horror: Former Neighbours star Carla Bonner has revealed how AIDS tore her family apart after her father, Peter Bonner, contracted HIV from a blood transfusion
Peter died of AIDS in 1986 when Carla was just 13 years old. He had been infected with the HIV virus after receiving a blood transfusion following a kidney transplant.
The TV star explained: ‘[We were] assured by the Aussie government the blood was clean, and safe coming from our brothers and sisters wanting to help fellow Aussies.
‘Those transfusions were the beginning of the end for him. The end of life as he knew it. The end of his dignity. And tragically the end of his life.
‘I’m so sorry he suffered the way he did. The way he was treated was abhorrent. Bottom of the barrel. He lived his last days in shame, terrified and alone.
Rest in peace: Peter died of AIDS in 1986 when Carla was just 13 years old. He had been infected with the HIV virus after receiving a blood transfusion following a kidney transplant
‘When he died, they put him in a plastic bag and a metal casket incase the virus could travel underground. They destroyed his belongings, burned everything.’
Carla shared her anger at the lack of accountability because many blood providers were exempt from medical litigation under statutes of limitation.
HIV often remains undetected for years because it can take a long time for the patient to experience symptoms of a compromised immune system.
‘Any opportunity I had to have him in my life was taken from me when I really needed him,’ she said.
‘The events and memories remain with me for the rest of my life. And I’ve had to do a lot to heal.’
These days Australians must meet certain requirements before donating blood.
Gay men or trans women who have sex with men are unable to donate blood if they have engaged in sexual activity in the last three months, reports The Guardian.
That period was reduced by the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood from 12 months earlier this year.
Other countries have relaxed the rules on gay blood donors. It is now extremely rare to contract HIV from a blood transfusion.