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The impact of HIV-associated anaemia on the incidence of red blood cell transfusion: Implications for blood services in HIV-endemic countries

  • Author(s): van den Berg, K
  • Murphy, EL
  • Pretorius, L
  • Louw, VJ
  • et al.

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© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Cytopaenias, especially anaemia, are common in the HIV-infected population. The causes of HIV related cytopaenias are multi-factorial and often overlapping. In addition, many of the drugs used in the management of HIV-positive individuals are myelosuppresive and can both cause and exacerbate anaemia. Even though blood and blood products are still the cornerstone in the management of severe cytopaenias, how HIV may affect blood utilisation is not well understood. The impact of HIV/AIDS on blood collections has been well documented. As the threat posed by HIV on the safety of the blood supply became clearer, South Africa introduced progressively more stringent donor selection criteria, based on the HIV risk profile of the donor cohort from which the blood collected. The implementation of new testing technology in 2008 which significantly improved the safety of the blood supply enabled the removal of what was perceived by many as a racially based donor risk model. However, this new technology had a significant and sustained impact on the cost of blood and blood products in South Africa.In contrast, it would appear little is known of how HIV influences the utilisation of blood and blood products. Considering the high prevalence of HIV among hospitalised patients and the significant risk for anaemia among this group, there would be an expectation that the transfusion requirements of an HIV-infected patient would be higher than that of an HIV-negative patient. However, very little published data is available on this topic which emphasises the need for further large-scale studies to evaluate the impact of HIV/AIDS on the utilisation of blood and blood products and how the large-scale roll-out of ARV programs may in future play a role in determining the country's blood needs.

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