Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV‐1) by homologous blood transfusion in the United States (US) is minimized by the deferral of potential donors who are at risk for HIV‐1 infection and by the screening of all donations for HIV‐1 antibody. HIV‐1‐ seropositive donors at 20 blood centers were studied for information to be used in evaluating the safety of the US blood supply and making recommendations to increase that safety. From June 1988 to August 1989, 829 (0.04%) of 2,192,000 donors were found to be seropositive; 512 were interviewed. Of 388 seropositive men, 56 percent had had sex with men, 10 percent had used drugs intravenously, 8 percent had had sex with intravenous drug users, and 27 percent had no identified risk. Of 124 seropositive women, 58 percent had had sex with men at risk for HIV (81% of whom used drugs intravenously), 5 percent had used drugs intravenously, and 41 percent had no identified risk. Racial and ethnic minorities made up 68 percent of seropositive donors (black, 38%; Hispanic, 30%) and approximately 14 percent of all donors. The 157 persons with no identified risk had demographic characteristics and serologic test results for syphilis and hepatitis B that were more similar to those of HIV‐1‐seropositive donors with recognized risk than to those of seronegative donors. Three health care worker‐blood donors (from an estimated 93,100 health care worker‐donors) had infection that was probably acquired occupationally. The very low HIV‐1 seroprevalence indicated that the current donor deferral process was highly effective and that, even in high acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) incidence areas, the risk of HIV‐1 transmission via trans‐fusion was minimal. However, further efforts to defer from donation men with ho‐ mosexual contact and persons with heterosexual contact with intravenous drug users, especially among black and Hispanic potential donors, are necessary to improve transfusion safety.
Transfusion – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1991
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