Feb
2006

Prevalence of HIV-1 in blood donations following implementation of a structured blood safety policy in South Africa.

Heyns Adu P, Benjamin RJ, Swanevelder JP, et al.
JAMA 2006;295(5):519-526.
NATA Rating :
Review by : V. Kretschmer
NATA Review

A really interesting article about improvement of blood safety that everybody being active in this field should read. It shows the complexity of this subject: the prevalence of HIV infections depends on many factors that may relate to culture and socioeconomic status and may considerably differ between different countries, and therefore generalization
is difficult. It further shows which ethical problems may arise when so-called risk groups are excluded from blood donation in general. It further documents the effectivity of an appropriate donor selection which is important even when highly sophisticated donor testing is performed. Furthermore, it illustrates the influence and responsibility of the politics. Finally, the data, still reflecting a high risk of HIV transmission in South Africa, should affect everybody in wealthier countries to feel challenged to support these countries.

– Volker Kretschmer