Key Points

  • Fifteen percent of HIV-positive donors in the US took ART within a few days before donating.

  • PrEP use proximate to donation was found in 0.6% of first-time male blood donors and by survey in 5% of men who have sex with men (MSM)

Context: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection are effective tools to help end the HIV epidemic. However, their use could affect HIV transfusion-transmission risk. Objectives: Three different ART/PrEP prevalence analyses in blood donors were conducted. Methods: First, blood samples from HIV-positive and a comparison group of infection-nonreactive donors were tested under blind using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for ART. Second, blood donor samples from infection-nonreactive, 18-45 year-old, male, first-time blood donors in six US locations were tested for emtricitabine and tenofovir. Third, in men who have sex with men (MSM) participating in the 2017 CDC National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) from five US cities self-reported PrEP use proximate to donation was assessed. Findings: In blind testing, no ART was detected in 300 infection-nonreactive donor samples, but in 299 HIV-confirmed infected donor samples, 46 (15.4%, 95% CI 11.5 - 20.0%) had evidence of ART. Of the 1,494 samples tested from first-time, male donors, 9 (0.6%, 95% CI 0.03 - 1.1%) had tenofovir and emtricitabine. In the NHBS MSM survey, 27 of 591 respondents (4.8%, 95% CI 3.2 - 6.9%) reported donating blood in 2016 or 2017 and PrEP use within the same time frame as blood donation. Conclusions: Persons who are HIV-positive and taking ART and persons taking PrEP to prevent HIV infection are donating blood. Both situations could lead to increased risk of HIV transfusion transmission if blood screening assays are unable to detect HIV in donations from infected donors.

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