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Blood safety in India through judicial and NGO activism.


Int Conf AIDS. 1998;12:633 (abstract no. 33205). Unique Identifier :

ISSUES: In India 5% of an estimated 7 million HIV infections, have occurred through contaminated blood. Half of the annual collection and supply of 2.2 million blood units, come from blood sellers, while on the other hand 40 to 50% blood is used as single bttle transfusion for correction of nutritional anaemia. While the Government had often shown its commitment towards blood safety, the easiest to be achieved as compared to sexual safety thro' behavioural modification has taken 12 years to reach good results that too is attributed to Judicial and NGO activism supported by media. METHODS: Demand/supply of blood and its safety levels were studied by evaluating blood banks, and hospitals in Bombay. After study of 200 blood sellers in 1989, we filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for blood safety in Bombay High Court. The demographic markers, behaviour pattern, frequency of selling and venue, STD status were in support of case. Defaulters were exposed thro' media and judiciary. Penal actions were initiated against few. Three kinds of PILs were filed: for Blood Safety, rehabilitation of blood sellers and for penal action against defaulters. RESULTS: None of the 1018 blood banks had HIV screening prior to 1989. After first PIL in 1989, HIV screening program was initiated in 4 metro cities in 1990 and expanded to cover 250 banks in the country meeting 50% supply by 1996. Unhappy with the pace, the Supreme Court of India ordered for universal blood safety and ban on blood sellers by July 31, 97; which was extended to Dec. 31, 97 at the Government requests Phase-wise up-gradation of blood banks, promotion of judicious blood uses and voluntary blood donations and ban on professional blood donation are some landmark achievements, though other goals have not been achieved. LESSONS LEARNED: Though predominant mode of HIV transmission in India is unsafe sex, quality of blood and Blood Banks also reflect on the epidemiology of AIDS. From the Bombay High Court order in 1989 to the Supreme Court ruling in 1997, the judicial and NGO activism with media support is responsible for bringing in Blood Safety.

MEETING ABSTRACTS Blood Banks/*ORGANIZATION & ADMIN Blood Donors/STATISTICS & NUMER DATA Blood Transfusion/*ADVERSE EFFECTS Consumer Product Safety/*LEGISLATION & JURISPRUD Human HIV Infections/EPIDEMIOLOGY/*ETIOLOGY India/EPIDEMIOLOGY Mass Media Mass Screening Quality Assurance, Health Care/ORGANIZATION & ADMIN Safety/*LEGISLATION & JURISPRUD *Voluntary Health Agencies


Information in this article was accurate in December 30, 1998. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.