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undectectable and blood donation
Nov 24, 2005

A friend of mines was going to donate blood she is hiv- but a guestion came to mind. If a person hiv+ is considered undectable can they safely give blood, or worse if they are hiv+ and don't know but their vl are so low can hiv be spread that way?

Response from Dr. Sherer

Any person known to be HIV infected should not donate blood, even if their most recent viral load is undetectable. People with HIV who are undetectable can still transmit the virus to another person sexually, to an infant (if a pregnant woman), or via blood transfusion.

And finally, a person who is HIV infected but unaware of the infection should disclose their possible risk of HIV when being screened as a blood donor. The vast majority of these patients will test positively for the HIV antibody, and they will be declined as a blood donor. A small number may be in the 'window period', i.e. the 6 weeks to 6 months after infection but before the HIV antibody has developed.

In sum, an undetectable viral load is NOT a guarantee of a lack of transmissibility. Even with an undetectable viral load, a person infected with HIV is still infectious, and should follow standard precautions to avoid blood donations and to prevent transmission to others.

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