Research Article

Excluding blood donors at high risk of HIV infection in a west African city.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 11 December 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:1517
  1. R Schutz,
  2. D Savarit,
  3. J C Kadjo,
  4. V Batter,
  5. N Kone,
  6. G La Ruche,
  7. A Bondurand,
  8. K M De Cock
  1. Centre National de Transfusion Sanguine, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.


    OBJECTIVE--To examine the potential impact of deferral of blood donors at high risk of HIV infection in a west African city where blood is screened for HIV antibodies but no other special measures are taken to protect the blood supply. DESIGN--Cross sectional study. SETTING--National Blood Transfusion Centre and Project RETRO-CI, an international collaborative AIDS research project, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. SUBJECTS--1257 male first time blood donors. INTERVENTIONS--Blood donors were interviewed about demographic and behavioural characteristics and tested for HIV antibodies by enzyme immunoassay and, if positive, synthetic peptide based tests. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--HIV antibody status in relation to presence of behavioural risk factors; calculation of sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of specific criteria for excluding HIV infected donors. RESULTS--The overall prevalence of HIV infection was 11.4%. The most important risk factors for HIV positivity were prostitute contact and being aged 30-39 years. For identifying seropositive donors individual criteria had sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values ranging from 15% to 98%, 38% to 91%, and 17% to 30% respectively. Prostitute contact in the past five years would have excluded 31% of all donors and 73% of HIV infected donors. 27% of those excluded would have been HIV positive. CONCLUSIONS--The widespread assumption that donor deferral is not feasible in sub-Saharan Africa needs reassessment. In Abidjan this approach was well accepted and potentially effective. Donor deferral requires evaluation as a strategy for improving blood safety in resource poor areas with high rates of HIV infection.