AIDS day: Need for reliable HIV tests

HYDERABAD: Those getting blood transfusion done at hospitals with donor’s blood screened only through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, could be in for trouble as studies show that they are still vulnerable to contact infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

This has been scientifically proven said Dr Srinivasa Murthy , founder of Dhanwantari voluntary blood bank, Rajahmundry , in a study published in ` Asian Journal of Transfusion Medicine’. This comes a day ahead of World AIDS day .

Since 2012, Dr Murthy said the blood bank had detected 29 cases where blood screened by ELISA test (a mandatory test for screening donated blood before transfusion) was found infected with HIV , Hepatitis B and C. “This was detected when we ran the blood samples through another advanced blood test called as Nucleic Acid Amplification Technology (NAAT), which is more sensitive than ELISA in detecting transfusion transmitted infections,” he said, adding that in several cases, newborn children born free of HIV infection got infected after blood transfusion.

He said there was a need for a policy rethink on the part of National Aids Control Society (NACO) as NAAT blood test was considered fool-proof in detection of HIV . “The chances of HIV infection through blood transfusion ranges between 0.5% to 3% now,” he said. According to Dr PSP Dhanunjay , regional manager, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, NAAT test was conducted only at three centres in Hyderabad.

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