BACKGROUND: The demographics, deferrable risk behaviors, and the prevalence and incidence of viral infections of apheresis (PH) and whole‐blood (WB) donors were compared, to characterize these two populations and to evaluate the relative safety of PH and WB donors in terms of transfusion‐transmitted viral infections. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A comparison was made of 36,119 PH donors (> or = 1 PH donation) and 1.38 million WB donors (> or = 1 WB donation) in terms of demographics and the prevalence (/100,000 donors) and incidence (/100,000 person‐years) of viral infections, by using data collected at five United States blood collection centers between 1991 and 1994. Deferrable risk behaviors were defined as those risk behaviors that would have resulted in donor deferral, had they been reported. The prevalence of deferrable risk behaviors was estimated by using data collected through an anonymous mail survey. RESULTS: PH donors were older and more likely than repeat (2+ donations) WB donors to be female, white, and United States‐born and to have a higher degree of education (p ≤0.001). The prevalence of any viral infection was 50 percent higher in WB donors than in PH donors (p = 0.04), whereas the incidence of HIV, human T‐lymphotropic virus, and hepatitis B surface antigen was nonsignificantly higher in WB donors. The prevalence of deferrable risk behaviors did not differ in the two groups. CONCLUSION: Further studies will be needed to evaluate whether the difference in the prevalence of viral infections observed in this study can be explained by demographic characteristics and patterns of donation frequency.
Transfusion – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1998
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