DALLAS — Have you ever gotten news that takes your breath away?
Derrick Anderson of Dallas is still recovering from what he was told mid-January. For about a year, twice a week, he was donating plasma with Octapharma at its location in Grand Prairie.
"I was homeless for a little point in time, so it kept money in my pocket so I could get food," he said.
But that stopped at a regularly scheduled appointment, when a staffer pulled him aside before he could donate.
"She brought me into a room, handed me a little paper and said, 'You have HIV,'" Anderson said. "[I said] 'What? No, It can’t be true.'"
He was stunned. And soon, suicidal.
"I’m just like, 'Where’s the closest Walmart so I can go drink bleach?' That was my first thought," he said.
But that panic should never have happened. Two weeks later, Anderson said testing from his doctor showed Octapharma was wrong. He is HIV negative.
If this story sounds familiar, it’s because Michael Sutton says it happened to him in 2017 at Octapharma’s Dallas location. Just like Anderson, he too felt fear.
"They could have caused me to go home and say 'Well, they're the professionals. That's the end of it,' and end my life," Sutton said.
An HIV diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it once was. Find resources from the CDC on the disease here.
We shared the story of Sutton's lawsuit against the company last May. Since it aired, his attorney Brad Kizzia has heard from four other people who say Octapharma gave them false positives. Anderson and two others are from Texas. The fourth is from the east coast.
"The donor bases are not in a position to defend themselves and to do much about it," Kizzia said. "And I think [Octapharma is] taking advantage of that."
As a result, both Sutton and Anderson say they are now on the banned donor list. They say they've reached out to Octaopharma to contest their results and ask to be removed from that list to no avail.
We reached out to Octapharma four our initial story and did not hear back. We also left messages and sent emails to the company comment on the new complaints and are waiting for a response. Meanwhile, Anderson is waiting for an apology.
"You can’t keep doing this to people," he said.
There are options for free HIV testing and other screenings in North Texas for anyone who might need a second opinion. That includes Out of the Closet - Dallas.