Japanese patient infected with HIV from donated blood
BY Advocate.com Editors
January 01 2004 1:00 AM ET
A Japanese hospital patient was infected with HIV from donated blood given by a man during the short window period after his infection when viral RNA was still undetectable in his blood, Agence France-Presse reports. The donor gave blood on May 19, within an 11-day window of becoming infected with the virus. He was identified as being HIV-positive when he tried to donate blood again on November 16. "The initial donation was taken during the window period immediately after infection," said Kenji Tadokoro, Red Cross Japan's senior technical director. "We don't have technology to detect the virus under those circumstances."
Tadokoro said that blood collection groups in Japan need to do a better job of discouraging donations by adults who've recently engaged in risky behavior, including injection-drug use and unprotected sex. "Many blood donors are giving their blood to help those who need it," he said. "But we must aggressively educate the public that you must be responsible when donating blood." Tadokoro also noted that many Japanese people prefer to be screened for HIV infection after donating blood rather than taking a standard HIV antibody test because of the stigma associated with HIV testing in Japan. "Blood donation centers are more welcoming than public health facilities," he said, urging health care providers to make HIV antibody testing more routine in health clinics.