AIDS Transmission Through Blood Supply is Discussed at Internews Nigeria Roundtable
(July 8, 2004) “HIV/AIDS is not a sinners’ affliction,” declared Evangelist Peter Ikiti to journalists attending an educational roundtable organized by Internews’ Local Voices Project in Abuja about the safety of Nigeria’s blood supply.
Ikiti, now the coordinator of Voices of HIV/AIDS of Nigeria (VOHAN), a support group for people living with HIV, learned through personal experience that sex is not the only route by which HIV is transmitted when he contracted HIV through a blood transfusion.
Project Manager of the USAID-funded Safe Blood for Africa Foundation (SBFAF), Ellison Katsande, told the roundtable that blood transfusions account for 5 to 10 percent of HIV infections.
There is no coordinated national blood supply system in Nigeria, and hospitals that collect blood often do not take into account the fact that HIV is not always detectable in early stages, allowing patients to be infected by blood that has tested negative. Activists say that transfusing blood that is not tested at all is still commonplace.
SBFAF is setting up the National Blood Transfusion Service in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, and will use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, which can detect HIV in blood within 11 days of infection. SBFAF will also train Nigerian health professionals in appropriate handling of the blood supply.
The Local Voices Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Cece Fadope, Internews Nigeria Project Director