|Is blood supply really safe?
Jan 27, 2002
How safe is the blood supply in the US? I am concerned because recently one of my close friends received a blood transfusion. I know blood is tested thoroughly, yet I have also read that certain strains of HIV (strain O, N) are not detectable by current testing mechanisms. Thus, how does one really know the blood they are receiving is safe if these strains might not be detected? Tragically, the way I see it testing for these strains will be made commomplace only after some poor recipient is infected by one of these strains. (I realize these are rare strains, yet how do we really know they are rare if we aren't even testing for them?)
Response from Dr. Henry
The chances of transmitting HIV in the manner you described are incredibly low (on the order of the odds of getting in a fatal crash on the way to the blood bank). Persons from regions of the world with high rates of HIV (including areas with high rates of non-clade B strains) are often excluded from donating blood. Present day technologies have almost eliminated blood transfusion as a means to spread HIV in the US and most of the developed world. KH
This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.
Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.