India Needs To Take Steps To End HIV Transmission Through Blood Transfusions

BBC News: Viewpoint: Why blood transfusions are still giving Indians HIV
Chapal Mehra, public health specialist

“A recent news report on HIV transmission through blood transfusion in India has been the cause of much controversy. … We must recognize the two key issues at play here. First, India’s blood safety standard has always been weak and needs to be reviewed, and implemented stringently. Second, India’s fight against HIV has slowed due to reduced funding and growing complacency. Not surprisingly, these issues are interlinked. Where blood safety is concerned, India needs to promote blood donations from regular, voluntary unpaid low-risk blood donors with a careful assessment of their suitability to donate. There needs to be stringent implementation of the screening of all donated blood … Unnecessary transfusions must be discouraged … India must also renew its fight against HIV. … India needs to increase, not decrease, it’s funding for health. … All of this is critically hinged on coordination, sufficient personnel, suitable infrastructure, and proper organization…” (6/9).