International News

Number of HIV-Positive Blood Donors in Japan Reaches Record High in 2007

January 24, 2008

The number of blood donors in Japan who tested positive for HIV reached a record high of 102 in 2007, according to preliminary data released on Wednesday by the Japanese Red Cross Society, Kyodo News/AOL reports. The report -- which was submitted to a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry committee -- showed that the number of HIV-positive donors in 2007 increased by 15 compared with 2006 and surpassed the previous record of 92 in 2004. The number also exceeded 100 for the first time since 1986, when the HIV antibody test was introduced for blood donors. The report showed that the number of blood donors per 100,000 living with HIV also reached a record high of 2.06 in 2007. The number of total blood donors in the country reached its lowest level of about 4.9 million last year.

The Osaka prefecture saw the largest increase, with 26 cases, followed by 17 cases in Tokyo. Six of the 102 HIV-positive donors tested negative for the virus in preliminary blood antibody tests but later were diagnosed as HIV-positive in confirmation tests, the report said. A ministry official said the record number could be because of an increase in blood donors seeking HIV tests via blood donation. "To prevent the possibility of the virus spreading, the ministry is urging the public to refrain from blood donation for such purposes," the official said. The society does not plan to inform donors of their test results because the tests are designed to prevent the virus from spreading through donated blood products, Kyodo News/AOL reports (Kyodo News/AOL, 1/23).

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