Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease
HIV1 / HIV2 and transfusion

Topic Completed: 1 October 2011

Revised: 8 April 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Transfusion [title] HIV 1/ HIV 2

Huy Phu Pham, M.D., M.P.H.
Page views in 2018: 14
Page views in 2019 to date: 8
Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Pham HP HIV1 / HIV2 and transfusion . website. Accessed July 24th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • HIV is a lentivirus, a subgroup of the retrovirus family
  • HIV is transmitted through sexual contact, childbirth, breast feeding and parenteral exposure to blood
  • HIV transmission by blood products is efficient: infectivity is 90 - 100% for contaminated blood versus 0 - 2% for needlestick injuries (AIDS 2006;20:805)
  • Transfusion associated HIV cases usually have an acute viral syndrome; if untreated, progress to AIDS in 10 years
  • HIV1 and HIV2 both can cause AIDS; HIV2 is rare in U.S., with NO reported cases of transfusion transmission in U.S.
  • Possibility of transfusion associated HIV is frightening to many patients but actual risk is only 1 per 2 million products tested for HIV1 and about 1 per 5 million - 8 million products transfused in U.S.
  • Pathogen inactivation has eliminated transmission in U.S. licensed plasma derivatives since 1985; however technique cannot be used for cellular components (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2007;131:719)
  • Identification of recipients of products from HIV+ donors is mandated by FDA
  • Risk in France is 1 per 3 million (Euro Surveill 2005;10:5); in Ivory Coast, the risk is 1 per 6,000 (Transfus Clin Biol 2006;13:242)
  • Current standard is serologic antibody testing (1 per 33,000 positive) plus nucleic acid testing (reduces window of seronegativity between time of infection and development of antibodies, Transfus Med 2007;17:200)
  • Risk exists for blood donated through window of seronegativity, and 4 "breakthrough" cases have been identified (nonreactive by nucleic acid testing - Vox Sang 2004;86:171, Transfusion 2004;44:929)
  • Most transfusion medicine litigation focuses on transfusion acquired HIV (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2007;131:615)
Back to top