The race of a person was used as a basis to judge the safety of the donated blood in South Africa, according to report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The blood of native Africans were considered more risky than that of their Indian and White compatriots, where HIV and hepatitis infections are concerned.
The policy is said to have been implemented by the South African National Blood Service. As much as 10% of the HIV infections across the world are reported to be through blood transfusions. About 900,000 blood samples were collected and examined by the Blood Systems Research Institute's Michael Busch for the study, which was compared with 800,000 donations belonging to the 2001 and 2002 period. There has been a 50% fall in the HIV infection from 0.17% in the first year to 0.08% during the second year, in the donated blood.
In the year 1999, black people accounted for 10% of the donated blood, which declined to 4.2% in 2001 to 2002. The study seeks to ensure safe blood to all recipients. Individual blood samples are being tested according to a new policy adopted by SANBS since February 2005, which serves to eliminate the race of a person as a risk factor.