Every year, many HIV +ve blood donors are not informed about
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Over the last few weeks, Tamil Nadu has been in shock over the alleged negligence of a government hospital in Sivakasi district which failed to identify that blood donated to its bank by a 19-year-old was HIV positive. He voluntarily rang up the government blood bank at Sivakasi, after learning that he was infected with HIV. The blood was transfused to a pregnant mother. Learning this, the medical officials took the HIV donor for a medical re-test, following which he has admitted Ramanathapuram Government District Headquarters Hospital on December 24 for further treatment.

The 19 year old who was dejected by the media attention and constant questioning from people around attempted suicide by consuming rat poison, blaming himself for having passed on his HIV infection to the expectant mother.

To make matters worse, the youth had already donated blood at the very same government hospital in 2016, and was found to be HIV positive at the time. But, he was not informed and no follow-up was done. And as it turns out, this is not a one-off situation.

Authorities at the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACs) confirm that every year, at least 10% of voluntary blood donors who are found to be HIV positive are not informed. In 2015, of the 67 donors who tested positive for the virus, nine could not be informed of their condition. In 2016, eight out 52 HIV positive donors were not informed and in 2017, six out of 64 donors with the virus were not informed. And according to officials, there are a large number of reasons for this gap in communication.

“When blood is collected in large camps, people do not always give accurate contact information and therefore, counsellors or physicians at the testing centres cannot contact them,” Dr Senthil Raj, Project Director, TANSACs

“In other situations, even if our counsellors get a hold of them, they do not turn up at the centre. The third roadblock is the fact that we cannot inform them of their HIV positive status on the phone. It is an offence to do so. We need to bring them to the hospital somehow, get their consent and conduct three tests to confirm infection, as directed by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)," he adds.

In the case of the 19-year-old blood donor, Dr Senthil Raj reveals that the hospital had indeed tried to contact him, but the staff were told that he is in Bengaluru.

“If donors move after donating blood, we don’t have the resources to track them down,” he admits.

Read more: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/every-year-10-hiv-positive-blood-donors-tn-aren-t-informed-about-their-infection-94589
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