Biometrics in blood banks to give leg up to HIV treatment in TN

PTI Chennai | Updated on January 10, 2019 Published on January 10, 2019

A government AIDS control body in Tamil Nadu will propose that all future blood donors in the state record their biometric details so that issues related to fake credentials are addressed and timely medical care could be provided if they test HIV positive during the screening process.

The proposal by the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) comes close on the heels of a pregnant woman being transfused with HIV infected blood donated by a youth in Sivakasi government blood bank, which led to an outrage and raised questions over the present screening process.

The move is also aimed at ensuring timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy to donors who test positive for HIV when the blood is screened after donation at banks. After the test, if the results were positive again, counselling and later ART could be initiated. “Timely initiation of ART and strict adherence to the regimen is key to tackling HIV. Biometrics will not only help initiation of ART at the right time but will offer additional help to avoid transfusion of infected blood,” he pointed out.

Some infected men donate blood under peer pressure just to avoid disclosure of their HIV+ status and hence provide false details during blood donation, he pointed out. “While some of them later inform us discreetly to not use their blood, others don’t.” “HIV is only an infection and there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Unfortunately, since a section of society still cling to the stigma some tend to hide their positive status,” he said.

Senthil Raj said recording biometric details of donors would be a “win-win” situation. “The infected person will be brought under the system...get treatment and also receive moral support from other HIV positive persons who hold engaging outreach programmes through their networks... “It will also help avoid blood donation from such people and even if it was done ignorantly, the blood can be detected with ease.”

Published on January 10, 2019
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