South Africa turns around blood threat

TRANSMISSION of HIV and hepatitis infections from donated blood has been virtually eliminated in South Africa since the introduction in 2005 of individual donor nucleic acid testing (ID-NAT), the South African National Blood Service reports.

South Africa has an overall national HIV prevalence of 11%, with some estimates showing previously there were as many as one HIV-1 infected unit of donated blood for every 600 donations.

No HIV infections from transfused blood or blood products have been reported since ID-NAT testing, the service said.