Get properly tested for HIV, AIDS society advises public

Published by rudy Date posted on April 12, 2011

Amid confirmed reports from the Department of Health (DOH) that two patients were transfused with blood tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the AIDS Soceity of the Philippines (ASP) reminded the public to have themselves properly tested for HIV if they suspect infection.

In a report on 24 Oras on Monday, ASP reported that some people who suspect they are infected with HIV donate blood to find out if they are HIV-positive.

ASP executive director Bric Bernas said people who may have been exposed to HIV should have themselves tested in clinics and hospitals.

Bernas assured that HIV testing centers in the country are trained to do testing and counseling for HIV-positive patients.

In an interview on Unang Balita, DOH National Epidemiology Center (NEC) Director Dr. Eric Tayag confirmed that HIV-positive blood was transfused into two patients last year.

He said both patients already died, but he stressed that the patients did not die because of the HIV-positive blood that was transfused into them.

Tayag said the donor tested negative for HIV before donating blood, but this was because of a “window period,” where someone infected by HIV may still test negative within three weeks after he or she is infected with the virus.

He said this “window period” is a limit of technology and happens the world over, and is not an oversight on the part of the hospital or clinic where the donor was tested.

The blood donated also tested negative at the time it was tested before transfusion. Tayag said the result was a false negative because the test was also done during the “window period.”

The donor was discovered HIV-positive after he again tried to donate blood. By then he already tested positive for HIV.

The HIV-positive donor is now undergoing counseling with the Health Department, Tayag said.

Answer truthfully

Tayag said the Health Department still encourages the public to donate blood, as blood banks and hospitals are in dire need of blood units for transfusion.

However, he said donors should answer truthfully the questionaire given to donors before they donate blood.

In the questionaire, donors are asked if they may have been exposed to HIV in the past. For example, donors are asked if they have any tattoos, of if they have had casual or unprotected sex recently.

He said the HIV-positive blood donor answered ‘no’ to all the questions but later admitted that he ‘lied’ and did not disclose that he had recent sexual activity that may have exposed him to the virus.

Tayag reminded donors to make sure they are healthy when they donate blood by eating properly and avoiding vices. He also advised donors to disclose all health-related information that might affect their blood donation. — RSJ, GMA News

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