2,200+ contract HIV in India after blood transfusions — 5 things to know

In the last 17 months, at least 2,234 people across India have been infected with HIV after receiving a blood transfusion in hospitals, according to a BBC report and data from India's National AIDS Control Organisation.

Here are five things to know about the problem in India and history of HIV transmission in the U.S. via blood transfusions.

1. India law mandates hospitals test blood donations for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other infections, but those tests can be costly and many hospitals lack the testing equipment, the BBC reported.

2. An activist with NACO told BBC the actual number of affected patients may be "double or triple" the official 2,234 number from the government.

3. A NACO official told the IB Times not all the cases could be blamed on failure to test. "In some cases, the donor may be in the window period — before his HIV viral load can be detected — when he donates the blood. In such cases, when screened, the blood sample shows a false negative," Naresh Goyal said.

4. Per the National Institutes of Health, in the U.S., roughly 1 in 2 million donations could carry HIV and transmit it to a patient — in other words, the risk of getting HIV from a blood transfusion is lower than getting killed by lightening.

5. In the U.S., donors are screened for infection prior to donation, and the blood is also tested at blood banks, according to Science Alert. CDC records indicate the first time HIV was transmitted through contaminated blood in the U.S. occurred in 1982, and the last time it happened was in 2008.

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