'Donated blood was Aids-free'

In spite of a recent blood transfusion-related HIV-Aids scare, there have been no HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C transmissions through donated blood since October 2005, the SA National Blood Service said yesterday.

In spite of a recent blood transfusion-related HIV-Aids scare, there have been no HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C transmissions through donated blood since October 2005, the SA National Blood Service said yesterday.

"Over the last three years, 1,5 million blood donations have been transfused to patients, yet not a single case of transmission of HIV, hepatitis B or C by blood transfusion has been detected," says a statement attributed to Sam Gulube, medical director of SANBS.

This follows a report that a Durban boy may have received blood from an HIV-positive donor.

Gulube said the donor had always tested negative for the HIV virus, but the routine examination of his last donation tested positive.

Once that happens, the SANBS's "look back" programme kicks in. This means the donation before the positive one needs to be checked and the SANBS would ask the person who received the donation before the positive one to be tested.

The SANBS established that the blood the boy received was HIV-negative, said Gulube.

The SANBS introduced Individual Donation Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) in 2005, following a row over a policy which discriminated against black blood donors. This test cuts the window period during which the HIV virus cannot be detected. - Sapa

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