Some Surigao blood donors found to have HIV, other infectious diseases

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – Some blood donors here tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other blood-borne infectious diseases, an official of the blood bank center at the Caraga Regional Hospital said on Tuesday.

But Aida A. Lancin, medical technologist III of the National Voluntary Blood Services Program of the hospital, assured that donated blood undergo a series of tests, and if found to be positive of the diseases, these are discarded right away.

She said that aside from HIV, some blood donors also tested positive for syphilis and hepatitis, among others.

In 2014, two donors were found to be HIV positive; two more were discovered last year.

A document from the blood bank showed that 219 of the 4,219 blood donors in 2014 were found to have infectious diseases – 2 cases of HIV-positive, 11 syphilis, 16 Hepatitis C and 190 Hepatitis B.

In 2015, there were 297 cases – 2 HIV-positive, 22 syphilis, 17 hepatitis C and 256 hepatitis B – out of 5,088 donors.

Earlier, city health officials were alarmed on the rising number of HIV cases in the province.

Jessica L. Nepomuceno, program coordinator of the Sexually Transmitted Infections /HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome program of the City Health Office (CHO), said there were additional HIV cases discovered this year.

“We have one person per month. It’s alarming,” she told MindaNews in an interview at the CHO.

She said there could still be unreported HIV cases as testing is not mandatory as well as due to the stigma put on people who are HIV-positive.

She added that the CHO is offering free HIV testing.