More than 180 people have been infected by HIV during blood transfusion in the last one and a half years; the Legislative Council was informed on Monday. Maharashtra later clarified that the figures were based on voluntary disclosure by clients at the integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTC), so it’s possible the actual figures may be higher than that.Nationalist Congress Party’s member of Legislatiave Council (MLC) Prakash Gajbhiye, through a written question, sought to know if the figures provided by National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) were true. According to NACO figures, 2,234 people across the country and 276 people in Maharashtra were affected by the virus. “If these figures are true, which blood banks have been involved in the blood transfusion of these patients? Also, has the government conducted any inquiry on them?” he questioned.
In a written response, Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant stated that the actual number of people infected was 182. “The figures are based on voluntary disclosures by patients at the integrated counselling and testing centres. Patients claim to have been infected by HIV-AIDS during blood transfusion, thus only once we get specific information on the blood bank which was involved in the transfusion leading to the transmission of the HIV virus, action be taken”. Dr Sawant said on the written response. He further said that due to periodical counselling to blood bank officials, counsellors and testing lab officials for maintaining the quality of management, cases of acquiring HIV due to blood transfusion have come down.
Dr. Sawant later confirmed to media that blood banks and ICTCs have been instructed to ensure safety of patients during blood transfusion in the future.The last decade has seen a 50% decline in the number of new HIV infections. According to more recent National AIDS Control Organisation data, India has demonstrated an overall reduction of 57 percent in estimated annual new HIV infections (among adult population) from 0.274 million in 2000 to 0.116 million in 2011, and the estimated number of people living with HIV was 2.08 million in 2011