Thalassemia patients transfused with HIV infected blood in India
As many as 23 thalassemic kids from the Junagadh district in Gujarat state were tested HIV positive in last one year because of the transfusion of the HIV infected blood. There are about 100 thalassemic patients in the district who regularly visit the civil hospital for blood transfusion. All of them visit the hospital just for the transfusion process, and most of the times they bring the blood with them.
The parents or the relatives of these kids are bringing the blood from the various blood banks in the town. Doctors at the civil hospital said that blood banks need to be much more careful in screening the donors’ blood.
They also pointed out at the lack of high end HIV screening equipment in the district which is making it difficult for the local banks to screen the donated blood for HIV.
A doctor from the civil hospital said, “Blood banks screen for HIV but many times, if the blood donor is in the ‘window period’, it is difficult to detect the HIV virus and the risk remains.”
The Red Cross society members from the state of Gujarat said the state lacks some advanced HIV tests such as Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), and urged the doctors and healthcare professionals to save the remaining kids from HIV.
Thalassemia is a genetic disorder in which the body forms an abnormal hemoglobin compound which increases the rate of destruction of red blood cells, causing a condition called anemia.
The Thalassemia patients need to undergo a periodic blood transfusion, without which they can’t survive for too long.