THE state Health department plans to make window period testing for HIV compulsory in blood banks across Gujarat.
While HIV testing is presently compulsory at 150 blood banks in the state, window period testing is a relatively new concept followed by only a few organisations in the country.
As per the plan, Nucleic Acid Test facility will be made available in blood banks across the state in a phase wise manner by the Health department.
State Principal Secretary (Health) Rajesh Kishore said the Gujarat State AIDS Control Society (GSACS) has been working on ways to reduce the window periods of Transfusion Transmitted Infections. Also, it is looking at technological changes by adopting latest generation testing kits.
Window period usually lasts for several weeks when newly infected patients do not have enough antibodies produced in the body which can be detected in tests.
Current tests for AIDS detect antibodies to the virus while for a brief time after contracting HIV, people have a few antibodies to be detected. As a result, their blood passes all the screening tests, even though it can transmit HIV.
Joint Director of GSACS Rajesh Gopal said: “Adopting latest generation testing kits, technology like Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) in a cost-effective manner through mobilisation of financial and other resources from all possible quarters can ensure minimising of all possibilities of window period infection.”
GSACS, meanwhile, is holding a series of workshops for developing a shared vision among blood bankers. “By encouraging voluntary blood donations over replacement donation, switching over to tube testing with forward and reverse grouping in blood banks only and not at camp sites as well as development of microplans in a tri-partite manner to ensure periodic voluntary blood donation at camps to meet the actual requirements of the blood banks in a realistic manner,” added Gopal.
Source: Indian Express