October 26, 2010
On Friday, CDC said the first reported U.S. HIV transmission through blood products in eight years occurred in 2008, in a Colorado kidney transplant patient.
An unidentified Missouri man in his 40s supplied the blood plasma that infected the patient. According to CDC, on his first visit to donate blood, the man concealed the fact that he had had anonymous sex with men and women. Men who have had any male-to-male sexual contact since 1977 are permanently deferred from donating blood in the United States, as are users of intravenous drugs not prescribed by a doctor, and persons who have accepted payment in exchange for sex.
CDC believes the man became infected with HIV in a small window of time before he donated -- approximately nine days. At that time, he had not developed antibodies that would have been detected when his blood was tested before being shipped to surgical centers.
According to a CDC report, a laboratory tested the infected blood for HIV during the June 2008 donation and two tests came back negative. In August 2008, at an unidentified Colorado facility, the transplant patient received the man's plasma.
In November 2008, the man donated at the same center, and again reported no risk factors on the routine eligibility screening questionnaire. But his donated blood tested HIV-positive, and all products from his donation were destroyed. The man was indefinitely barred from additional donations, the report said.
An investigation found that only the Colorado patient, and another in Arkansas who died of cardiac disease just two days later, received the tainted products. The Colorado patient tested positive for HIV, and DNA sequencing found his virus to be 99 percent identical to that of the donor's. He has been placed on antiretroviral therapy.
The report noted that the donor, who initially refused to be interviewed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, eventually agreed and admitted to not disclosing sexual behavior that would have barred him from donating blood. CDC estimates the risk of HIV transmission from blood transfusion to be about 1 in 1.5 million.
The report, "HIV Transmission Through Transfusion -- Missouri and Colorado, 2008," was published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2010;59(41):1335-1339).