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[Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS): WHO meeting and consultation on the safety of blood and blood products] Syndrome d'immunodeficit acquis (SIDA): reunion et consultation de l'OMS sur la securite du sang et des produits sanguins.
Weekly Epidemiological Record / Releve Epidemiologique Hebdomadaire. 1986 May; 61(18):138-40.The World Health Organization (WHO) convened a meeting of experts on April 14-16, 1986, to review the available information on the safety of blood and blood products in relation to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It was attended by over 100 participants from 34 countries and followed by a consultation which took into consideration previous recommendations, new information, and many different circumstances which exist regarding AIDS at the global level. This discussion reports the main conclusions and recommendations of the consultation. Tests to detect antibody to the AIDS virus now are available to assist in the elimination of potentially infectious units of blood and plasma, yet it is important to recognize that information and education remain crucial elements in any AIDS prevention program and that they continue to be relevant to the safety of blood and blood products. In that respect, measures to limit the transmission of LAV/HTLV-III by whatever means will be most effective in communities which are as well informed as possible about the disease, how it is transmitted, and how donors can assist in assuring a safe blood supply by being alert to donor suitability criteria. In some countries risk factors for AIDS have been identified in homosexual and bisexual men, intravenous drug abusers, and their sexual partners. Self-exclusion systems in which persons with risk factors refrain from giving blood, and blood screening programs for virus antibody have been effective in contributing to a safe blood supply. Experience also has shown that frequently when persons infected with the AIDS virus have donated blood, risk factors could later be identified, but many of those donors may not have recognized or acknowledged that they carried a risk. The value of specific screening and control measures which have been found useful in many developed countries should be assessed by other countries in the context of their overall health programs and the availability of human and material resources. Well-accepted general principles concerning the use of blood and blood products need to be emphasized since they can contribute to the control of AIDS. The most important principles are: strategies of health services such as improved antenatal care can reduce the demand for blood and should be encouraged; when appropriate and safer components and derivatives can be produced and are available, they are preferable to whole blood or plasma; and whole blood or plasma should be transfused only when medically justified. Decisions to institute laboratory screening of donors should be made with full awareness that there are several essential components of such a program. Information and education for donors about AIDS, its risk factors, and blood transmission is one of the basic considerations. Exclusion based on a current history of possible exposures to known risk factors as well as symptoms can help to reduce the number of infected donors.