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More HIV tainted blood found by Health dep’t

Manila, Philippines – Amid the rising cases of blood units tainted with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the Department of Health (DoH) has reiterated its call for more responsible blood donation.

DoH-National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention and Control Program Manager Dr. Gerard Belimac appealed to individuals, who are at risk of HIV infection, to refrain from donating blood units.

HIV is usually spread through sexual intercourse with multiple partners or through needle sharing among drug users.

“If they were exposed to risky behaviors, please avoid donating blood because you could be donating your blood to your loved ones, to your friends,” Belimac said.

Belimac appealed after the DoH recorded more donated blood units tainted with HIV in the first quarter of this year compared to same period in 2013.

According to the latest Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry Report, the DoH said 114 blood units from January to March were tainted.

The highest number of contaminated units was discovered last March with 45 units, followed by January with 40, and February with 29.

It was higher compared to the 71 infected blood units reported by the DoH in the first quarter of last year.

The DoH, however, noted each of these recorded cases does not necessarily correspond to a person, since a donor may choose to donate multiple blood units. (Samuel P. Medenilla)