Tuesday, November 30, 2010

124 donated blood units found HIV positive—party-list lawmaker

INQUIRER.net First Posted 13:27:00 11/28/2010 Filed Under: Health, Diseases, Government

MANILA, Philippines—At least 124 units of donated blood were found HIV positive in the 10 months to October this year, a member of Congress disclosed over the weekend.

Citing a Department of Health report, LPGMA (Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association) Party-list Representative Arnel Ty said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine confirmed that the donated blood units were HIV positive.

In a news release, Ty said the report was based on information from the National Voluntary Blood Safety Program, which monitors the purity of donated blood.

The tainted blood units did not necessarily come from 124 donors since one contributor can give more than one unit, according to Ty.

Ty joined other members of Congress in welcoming Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks endorsing the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS.

"We expect the Pope's sentiment to figure prominently in House deliberations on the reproductive health bill," he said.

Ty said the discovery of the contaminated blood units did not pose any threat to public health, as these were filtered out precisely due to existing safeguards.
"Nonetheless, the increasing number of diseased blood units found betrays the menacing spread of HIV in the country," he said.

Ty said the 124 donated blood units found HIV positive from January to October already surpassed the 89 similarly infected units detected in the 12 months of 2009. In the whole of 2008, he said 74 donated blood units were found HIV positive, more than double the 30 similarly contaminated units retrieved in 2007.

Ty said the National HIV & AIDS Registry "has made it very clear that donors of the HIV positive blood units may or may not be in its record."

The registry lists a total of 5,729 diagnosed cases as of end October, although the actual number is believed to be much higher.

Ty pointed out that HIV surveillance system remains passive because compulsory testing is unlawful under the 1998 AIDS Prevention and Control Act.

Section 16 of the law states: "Compulsory HIV testing as a precondition to employment, admission to educational institution, the exercise of freedom of abode, entry or continued stay in the country or the right to travel, the provision of medical service or any other kind of service or the continued enjoyment of said undertaking shall be deemed unlawful."

The law fully protects the human rights and civil liberties of persons suspected or known to be infected with HIV.

Ty said diseased blood units are nonetheless getting detected because under the law, legal consent to HIV testing is considered having been given when a person volunteers or freely agrees to donate blood, organ, or tissue for transfusion, transplantation, or research.

News Source: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20101128-305790/124-donated-blood-units-found-HIV-positiveparty-list-lawmaker

Photo source: http://donser.com

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