HIV: Blood Donation Essentials To Ponder Over

FDA new rules to observe HIV incidence with blood donation
Credit: Medlife

Blood transfusions and blood donations have enabled doctors to save millions of lives. Blood donation is regulated according to specific policies and organizations. The FDA designed new rules for blood donation. Research is underway to find out the outcomes of these changes. And to determine whether HIV incidence increases because of the alterations or not.

Share Your Blood

Globally, 118.5 million blood donations occur. 40% of it comes from high-income countries. Furthermore, 54% of blood donations in low-income countries, children below the age of 5 consume donated blood.

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Moreover, in high-income countries, 75% of their blood donations to patients over 60 years of age occurs. Blood donations are according to WHO recommendations and national blood policies.

Blood Donation Is Fruitful

During the blood donation and transfusion process, the safety of the donor and recipient is the utmost priority. According to various studies, donating blood is beneficial for the donor. Added to that, it eliminates excessively harmful iron stores from blood, preventing the development of hemochromatosis.

It reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, it reduces the risk of developing cancer. According to the University of California, approximately 650 calories burn per donation of one pint of blood.

Pandemic Hits Hard

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It causes AIDS. AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome. Causing a defenseless immune system response. The body becomes weak and unable to fight disease-causing agents. However, an HIV positive individual may or may not develop AIDS. Since pandemics, 76 million people have been affected by HIV.

Moreover, by the end of 2019, around the globe, 38.0 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. Most of them were between 15 and 49 years of age. The virus affects the African region adversely.

Guidelines For Blood Donation

For 30 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn’t allow man having sexual activity with the same gender to donate blood. However, in 2015, the FDA altered its rules and allowed men who had sex with men (MSM) to give their blood donations, only 12 months after same-sex encounters. Furthermore, in April 2020, such men were allowed to donate blood after three months of same-sex encounters.

Moreover, the University of California San Francisco and the Transfusion-Transmissible Infection Monitoring System are working together to investigate the outcomes of the changes. One of the aims was to monitor the safety of the national blood supply.

Is Homosexual Blood Donation Safe?

To determine HIV incidence in respect of first-time donors after a 12 month deferral period. Thus, a total of 4.8 million people donated blood as first-time donors in this study. Of these, one-fourth were first-time donors, men with a history of engaging sexually with men. The total number of HIV-positive donations was 391.

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Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology, published the study. The author wrote that there was no significant statistical increase in HIV incidence occurring. Especially after the change in blood donation policy associated with MSM. Previously HIV was in the blood of first-time donors in approximately 2.62 cases per 100,000 people per year. After the change, 2.85 cases per 100,000 people per year occur.

Blood Donations From HIV-Positive People

Blood –donation organizations have concerns regarding blood donation made by people who are HIV-positive and taking anti-retroviral drugs. A study lead by UCSF and TTIMS discover in 15.4% of donations from HIV-positive individuals contain anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.

Similarly, in 0.6% of donations from HIV-negative individuals Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis drugs (PrEP) were found. The authors wrote that further studies are required to determine the risk to blood recipients of transfusing lifeblood containing ARVs and PrEP drugs.

Adeena Tariq Lari
The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.