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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989


OTANI, Marcia M. et al. Evaluation of the concomitant use of two different EIA tests for HIV screening in blood banks. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.2-3, pp.172-175. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: In 1998, the Brazilian Ministry of Health made it mandatory for all blood banks in the country to screen donated blood for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) concomitantly using two different enzyme immunoassay (EIA) tests. Concerned with the best use of available resources, our objective with this study was to evaluate the usefulness of conducting two EIA screening tests instead of just one. METHODS: We analyzed data from 1999 through 2001 obtained by testing 698 191 units of donated blood using two EIA HIV screening tests concomitantly at the Pro-Blood Foundation/Blood Center of São Paulo (Fundação Pró-Sangue/Hemocentro de São Paulo), which is a major blood center in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. All samples reactive in at least one of the two EIA tests were submitted for confirmation by a Western blot (WB) test, and the persons who had donated those samples were also asked to return and provide a follow-up sample. RESULTS: Out of the 698 191 blood units that were donated, 2 718 of them (0.4%) had to be discarded because they were reactive to at least one of the EIA tests. There were two WB-positive donation samples that were reactive in only one HIV EIA screening test. On their follow-up samples, both donors tested WB-negative. These cases were considered false positive results at screening. Of the 2 718 donors who were asked to return and provide a follow-up sample, 1 576 of them (58%) did so. From these 1 576 persons, we found that there were two individuals who had been reactive to only one of the two EIA screening tests and who had also been negative on the WB at screening but who were fully seroconverted on the follow-up sample. We thus estimated that, in comparison to the use of a single EIA screening test, the use of two EIA screening tests would detect only one extra sample out of 410 700 units of blood. CONCLUSIONS: Our data do not support the use of two different, concomitant EIA screening tests for HIV. The great majority of HIV-positive donors have already seroconverted and will be detected using only a single EIA screening test. Only persons who are going through the process of seroconversion may be missed by using a single EIA test and detected using two EIAs for screening. To screen out these individuals and decrease the residual risk of HIV transmission from the blood donated in our center, the use of other techniques, such as nucleic acid testing (NAT) or a p24 antigen assay, would be more effective.

Keywords : Blood banks; blood donors; HIV; Brazil.

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