DOH searches for patients transfused with HIV-positive blood

Published by rudy Date posted on April 5, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is investigating if there are other individuals who may have received donated blood found to be positive for the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), an official said yesterday.

Last February, one of 159 new cases of HIV/AIDS contracted the virus by receiving contaminated blood. It was the first such case recorded by the DOH in six years.

“We want to know if the blood was transfused to an intended recipient or there are others who received the blood. We are tracing that now,” DOH chief epidemiologist Dr. Eric Tayag said.

There is a three-month window period during which a newly infected person will test negative for HIV.

He said the DOH is investigating if the blood was donated during the window period or if it escaped detection because of a “laboratory error.”

Tayag said since donated blood is separated into its various components, there could be more than one recipient.

The official said the DOH will study if the donor of the HIV-tainted blood could be held liable.

“When you donate blood, you are asked if you engage in risky behaviors that could have exposed you to the virus. We want to know what happened,” Tayag said.

The 159 new cases recorded in February is 22 percent higher than the 130 cases registered during the same month last year. The figure also brought to 6,329 the number of HIV cases – 863 of them having progressed into AIDS – recorded in the country from 1984 to 2011. –Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star)

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