Nav: Home

More black South Africans are donating blood

October 31, 2018

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has succeeded in increasing the proportion of donations from black South Africans fivefold, from 43 269 in 2005 to 246 686 in 2015, while at the same time significantly enhancing the safety of South Africa's blood supply.

These are the findings of a new study, based on ten years of data from SANBS, published in the journal Transfusion recently, and is the result of a collaboration between researchers from SANBS, the Division of Medical Virology at Stellenbosch University, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), and international researchers.

Marion Vermeulen, Senior Manager: Operations Testing at SANBS and lead-author of the study, says SANBS receives around 800 000 blood donations per year and provides blood to nearly 400 000 patients per year: "Over the ten-year period, HIV was detected in 0.2% of the donated blood. Over the same time period there was only one confirmed case of HIV transmission via blood transfusion. This is a substantial improvement over the one to two confirmed cases per year between 2000 and 2005."

Prior to 2005, blood donations from black South Africans were used selectively and often discarded, due to the higher recorded rates of HIV infection in the black population. At the time, to keep the risk to a minimum, SANBS felt it had no alternative, however controversial, but to using race as a criterion.

On 3 October 2005, SANBS became the first blood service in the world to implement a highly sensitive donor blood test nationwide, called individual donation nucleic acid testing (NAT). NAT is a highly sensitive molecular technique, which is able to pick up small amounts of viral nucleic acid, even before the body has started to produce antibodies. It is specifically targeted to detect the Hepatitis B and C Viruses and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

The ten-year analysis shows that, after the implementation of NAT, there was a substantial increase in the number and proportion of donations from black South Africans. The proportion of first-time blood donors in this group increased from 19% in 2005 to 54% in 2015. Over the same time period, the proportion of regular blood donors also showed a fivefold increase from 5% to 26%.

The study reports that model-based estimates of the overall risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusion declined to between 3.47 and 0.52 per million transfusions over the period, representing a halving of the risk to recipients.

"The increase in black repeat donors is particularly encouraging, given that repeat donors provide the bulk of the blood in our blood service, with 76.4% of the total donations from 2005 to 2015," Vermeulen explains.

Despite this increase in the black donor base, Vermeulen says they need more donors to meet the demand: "During 2018 less than 1% of South Africans donated blood. For most of this year, we had less than three days of blood in stock. We need regular donors, but we also require an increase in our first-time donors to expand the small donor base," she concludes.

The article, "Assessment of HIV transfusion transmission risk in South Africa: a 10-year analysis following implementation of individual donation nucleic acid amplification technology testing and donor demographics eligibility changes", was published online in the journal Transfusion, on 28 September 2018. doi:10.1111/trf.14959

Media enquiries
-end-
Marion Vermeulen
SANBS
Tel: (011) 761 9200
Mobile: 082 419 0427
E-mail: Marion.Vermeulen@sanbs.org.za

Dr Eduard Grebe
SACEMA
Tel: 021 808-2778
E-mail: eduardgrebe@sun.ac.za

Stellenbosch University

Related Hiv Articles:

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.
The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.
Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.
NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
First ever living donor HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant
For the first time, a person living with HIV has donated a kidney to a transplant recipient also living with HIV.
The Lancet HIV: PrEP implementation is associated with a rapid decline in new HIV infections
Study from Australia is the first to evaluate a population-level roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men.
Researchers date 'hibernating' HIV strains, advancing BC's leadership in HIV cure research
Researchers have developed a novel way for dating 'hibernating' HIV strains, in an advancement for HIV cure research.
HIV RNA expression inhibitors may restore immune function in HIV-infected individuals
Immune activation and inflammation persist in the majority of treated HIV-infected individuals and is associated with excess risk of mortality and morbidity.
HIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains
An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world.
State-of-the-art HIV drug could curb HIV transmission, improve survival in India
An HIV treatment regimen already widely used in North America and Europe would likely increase the life expectancy of people living with HIV in India by nearly three years and reduce the number of new HIV infections by 23 percent with minimal impact on the country's HIV/AIDS budget.
More Hiv News and Hiv Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab