HIV infection low in blood transfusion

There is a greater risk of receiving the wrong blood type than being accidentally infected with HIV during a blood transfusion, South Africa's largest blood transfusion service has said.

In its latest haemovigilance report, the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) noted that only two out of 881,000 blood transfusions provided in 2003 resulted in accidental HIV infection.

"This one in 390,000 risk compared favourably with developed countries, and was a major achievement considering the high prevalence of HIV in SA," a local newspaper, Business Day, quoted SANBS haematologist, Dr Theresa Nel, as saying.

UN estimates show that some 5.3 million people in South Africa were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2003.