Global blood safety threatened by AIDS

The spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis B and C, is threatening global blood safety, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said in a statement: "Especially in areas where prevalence of these diseases is high and access to safe blood is limited, the threat is acute."

The UN agency stressed that better efforts and measures to protect people from contaminated blood were urgently needed.

Globally, it is estimated that just 20 percent of the 80 million units of blood collected annually are from the developing world, where 80 percent of the world's population lives.