Philippines sees increasing HIV-tainted blood units

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

THE Philippines has an increasing number of blood units that are found positive of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the last three years, the Department of Health (DOH) said Sunday.

Data from the DOH-National Epidemiology Center (NEC) showed that 303 blood units tested positive for HIV last year, up 61 units from 242 in 2012 and 86 more than the 217 found in 2011.

The tests were conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), an attached unit of the DOH.

The DOH, though, repeatedly said that the number of blood units found with HIV do not automatically translate to an equal number of people living with HIV.

"These are confirmed blood units, not blood donors. One donor can donate more than one blood unit," the DOH said.

DOH-NEC chief Dr. Eric Tayag attributed the discovery of HIV-contaminated blood units to the stringent precautionary measures being implemented by the health department in screening blood donations.
"This is part of the blood safety program. A proof that blood is being adequately screened," he said. (HDT/Sunnex)

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