MUMBAI: Considering that some donors at blood banks test positive for HIV but don’t return for counselling and treatment, Mumbai District AIDS Control (MDACS) has introduced a system to reach out to them.
Every donated unit of blood is tested for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis viruses. The ones with infections are called, counselled and put through another round of HIV-testing. But in Mumbai there is a gap between numbers who test positive and those who return for counselling and treatment, said MDACS officials.
In 2016-17, 0.29% of the blood from banks was positive for HIV. Given the new WHO call to put every HIV-positive person on treatment at the earliest to ensure a better quality of life, MDACS increased efforts to find HIV-positive persons and start them on treatment.
It issued a circular on June 5 advising blood banks on how to take the history of blood donors and how to counsel them. Blood banks have to retest any blood unit that tests positive for HIV and call the donor for a retest and counselling session at the nearest government-run Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC). “But in practice, such donors never return to the centres. There is a significant gap between positive sample detected and donors who return for a confirmation,” said asenior doctor.
MDACS additional project director Dr Shrikala Acharya has written that in collaboration with American Center’s for Diseases Control, India has initiated an exercise to assess reasons for this discordance. “It has also been decided that such donors should be referred to any ICTC they are comfortable to visit,” said Dr Acharya.