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Two Greek
patients infected with HIV-tainted blood

Two Greek
patients infected with HIV-tainted blood

HIV infections prod Greek health officials to adopt better HIV screening methods.

Two Greek hospital patients, one a 16-year-old treated for anemia with a blood transfusion and the other a 76-year-old heart patient who received a plasma transfusion, have been infected with HIV through infected blood products, health officials told Agence France-Presse. The blood products were traced back to a 38-year-old man who had donated blood after recently becoming infected with HIV when detectable antibodies to the virus had not yet appeared in his bloodstream.

"This was a rare case--the chances of this happening are one in a million," Angelos Hatzakis, head of Greece's national center for monitoring and preventing disease, told the news agency.

In light of the new infections, Greek health officials announced this week that the country will begin using more sensitive nucleic acid testing to screen the nation's blood supply. The new nucleic acid screening, which can detect HIV in the blood in as few as 11 days after infection, will cost between $30 million and $36 million to implement. Most European Union nations already use nucleic acid testing to screen their blood donations. (The Advocate)

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