Blood Donors Discover Infections

NEW YORK-In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 tragedies, many Americans rushed to donate blood. Although their intentions were good, many did not realize they were infected with a virus. Now, many are being notified that they are HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis positive.

Blood banks have been screening donated blood for viral diseases since the 1980s. An official from the American Red Cross notes that slightly more than 1% of donors test positive for some type of infection. With the 333,000 people who donated blood during the past month through the American Red Cross, they estimate that: one in 20,000 is infected with HIV, one in 2,500 is infected with hepatitis B, and one in 500 is infected with hepatitis C.

Under these estimates, more than 3,000 people have found out in the last month they are HIV positive by simply donating blood. An official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said finding out about an infection by donating blood is a traumatic way of finding out you are sick.

Disease hotlines are also experiencing a surge of calls from donors who are seeking advice after finding out about their infections.

Information from www.sfgate.com

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