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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
INDIA: Hepatitis B More Prevalent than HIV in Donor Blood
By Afshan Yasmeen
September 9, 2013
The Hindu (Chennai) (09.06.2013)

India’s Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital Individual Donor-Nucleic Acid Testing (ID-NAT) blood bank reported that, on average, 12 of every 1,000 blood donors had hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and two of every 1,000 had HIV. Bowering Hospital’s blood bank, which tested samples from 34 government-run blood banks, was the only Indian facility that used ID-NAT to identify HBV in donated blood. The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) assisted with 66 of the 178 blood banks in India. The government ran 34 NACO-assisted blood banks, and nongovernmental organizations ran the remaining NACO-assisted blood banks. S. Manjunath, Bowering Hospital blood bank’s technical director, stated that the blood bank tested 12,000 samples in January and diagnosed 54 HBV cases. In February, the ratio of samples tested to HBV diagnoses was 8,500 to 58. In March, the ratio was 9,000 samples tested to 134 HBV cases. In April, the ratio was 8,000 samples tested to 95 HBV cases. In May, the ratio was 8,500 samples tested to 91 HBV cases. In June, the ratio was 10,000 samples tested to 54 HBV cases. In July the ratio was 10,000 samples tested to 87 HBV cases. A national advisory group recommended strategies for the government, policymakers, medical practitioners, pharmaceuticals, and other stakeholders to control HBV. Strategies included compulsory implementation of universal safety precautions in clinical practice settings, implementation of policies to protect professionals in contact with blood and blood products, mass voluntary blood donation to screen for hepatitis and build emergency blood supplies, and awareness and counseling for HBV-affected persons. HBV is transmitted by contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person. Common symptoms of acute HBV include jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Untreated HBV could cause cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.