24 May 2010
By Debarati Basu
IT IS a double whammy for haemophilia patients as they have been found contracting HIV during the course of treatment. According to estimates, there are over 2,200 registered haemophilia patients in the state and over 255 patients contracted HIV in the past decade when they went for repeated blood transfusion.
The issue has come up as a major cause of concern for the Gujarat State Haemophilia Society (GSHS), but there is no relief for the patients. Dinesh Vadhadia, president, Vadodara Chapter of Haemophilia Society, said: “Haemophilic patients have to undergo blood transfu sions throughout their life, making them highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS contraction. We had initially taken up the matter with the blood banks, but they shrugged off from the matter saying that every unit is tested.”
Haemophilia is a genetic disorder, which impairs the body’s ability to control blood clotting and coagulation, making it necessary for the patients to require repeated blood transfusion every time there is an injury or bleeding, which can go up to two to three times a month.
Rajesh Gopal, Jt Director, Gujarat State Council for Blood Transfusion, said: “No blood is 100 percent safe. The donated blood is tested for at least five infections against the numerous possibilities of infections, which go undetected. In most cases, blood donated in the window period of an HIV/AIDS patient goes undetected of the virus, which poses a problem especially for patients who need to have continuous transfusion of blood. We have been struggling to find a solution to this problem.” But the patients have failed to garner any government support over the issue. “For the last 10 years, we have been counselling the patients on the odds of blood transfusion and the chances of contracting HIV,”said Ganesh Javeri, vice president, Gujarat State Haemophilic Society, Surat, where seven patients have contracted HIV.
GSHS president M A
Hussaini said:“The only option to blood transfusion is doses of Anti–Haemophilic Factor, which has to be taken every time during bleeding.”
The doses are very expensive and beyond the reach of almost 90 per cent of the patients. So the only option left for them is blood transfusion. Other states like Delhi, Tamil Nadu and UP give patients medicines free of cost.
AHF doses not only minimise the risk of HIV but also protect the patient from being disabled.“We have submitted a proposal to the government to make the availability of AHF to haemophilic patients subsidised or free of cost but no decision has been taken in this regard. We will submit the proposal again next year,” said Gopal.
Monday, Apr 24th
Last update:05:44:44 AM IST