Throughout the world, blood services aim to provide a life-saving service by ensuring an adequate supply of safe blood1. Contamination with blood-borne infectious agents, especially human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is an important problem leading to the exclusion of donated blood. This letter reports on an audit of 215 blood donations from a rural area of Thailand (Bang Sapan District, Prachuab Kiri Khan Province, 400 km south of Bangkok) in 2005. An interesting finding was the difference in HIV seropositivity between donors of high and low education status (1/41 vs 7/166).
Education has been established as the main factor in attitude towards blood donation2. Similarly, Wiwanitkit found that rural people's knowledge of HIV also significantly related to their level of education3. This is of concern because 80% of donors were from the low education group. Indeed, low educated donors are the main donors in many developing countries2,4. In addition, a similarly high rate of HIV seropositivity among paid unemployed donors was also described in Nigeria4. This is an important safety issue for rural communities.
Viroj Wiwanitkit, MD
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University
1. Sullivan P. Developing an administrative plan for transfusion medicine - a globalperspective. Transfusion 2005; 45(4 Suppl): S224-S240.
2. Wiwanitkit V. A study on attitude towards blood donation among people in a rural district, Thailand. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 2000; 31: 609-611.
3. Wiwanitkit V. Knowledge about human immunodeficiency virus infection: the perceived risks of infection of Thai adolescents in a rural community. Sexual Disability 2003; 21: 263-267.
4. Durosinmi MA, Mabayoje VO, Akinola NO, Adegunloye AB, Alabi AO. A retrospective study of prevalence of antibody to HIV in blood donors at Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Nigerian Postgraduate Medical Journal 2003; 10: 220-223.