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Thursday, July 31, 2014
HIV and AIDS
What Is My risk Of Getting HIV From A Blood Transfusion?
I was given two units of blood in July as the result of emergency surgery. What is the time frame after which I can rest assured that I did not acquire HIV or Hepatitis C from the blood?
Blood transfusions today are much safer than in the past, and the risk of acquiring infections such as HIV or Hepatitis C is very very low but not impossibble. Infections transmitted by transfusions usually cause acute illnesses in the first 2 to 6 weeks, with detectable antibodies developing shortly thereafter. If you had transfusions in July, and your HIV and Hep C antibody tests are negative now, I might recheck them in 3 months (or 6 months after the transfusions) before definitively saying they are negative. Again, remember, the risk involved here is very very small.
Kenneth Skahan, MD
Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati