02 January, 2015

Possible math of HIV and blood

Will The FDA Ever Get Over Its Hemo-phobia? Ctd � The Dish: However, as is pointed out, all blood is tested for HIV. Even if we put in place controls that would increase the chance of catching new infections, no test is perfect. Most modern HIV tests are weighted more towards false positives than false negatives (for obvious reasons), but still about 3 out of 10,000 tests of HIV-positive individuals will turn out negative. That means, in the absence of a ban, an additional 0.0000375% of donated blood that reaches patients will be HIV-positive. Put in other terms, an additional 1 in every 2.5 million blood transfusions would involve transmitting HIV contaminated blood.

That number might seem acceptably small, until you consider that in the US alone, there are about 5 million blood transfusions each year. That means the absence of a ban could result in an additional two Americans every year being given HIV accidentally simply for going to the hospital. That seems unacceptably high to me.