BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa improving the deferral of at-risk blood donors would be a cost-effective approach to reducing transfusion-transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. We performed a pilot case-control study to identify the risk factors for HIV infection and to develop an adapted donor history questionnaire (DHQ) for sub-Saharan Africa.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We recruited 137 HIV-positive donors (cases) and 256 HIV-negative donors (controls) and gathered risk factor data using audio computer-assisted self-interview. Variables with univariate associations were entered into a logistic regression model to assess independent associations. A scoring scheme to distinguish between HIV-positive and HIV-negative donors was developed using receiver operating characteristics curves.
RESULTS: We identified 16 risk factors including sex with sex worker, past history or treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and having a partner who used injected or noninjected illegal drugs. Two novel risks were related to local behavior: polygamy (odds ratio [OR], 22.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.9-86.7) and medical or grooming treatment on the street (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0-3.0). Using the 16 selected items the mean scores (>100) were 82.66.7 (range, 53.2-95.1) and 85.1 +/- 5.2 for HIV-negative donors versus 77.9 +/- 6.8 for HIV-positive ones (p = 0.000). Donors who scored between 80 and 90 were more likely to be HIV negative than those who scored less (OR, 31.4; 95% CI, 3.1-313.9).
CONCLUSION: We identified both typical and novel HIV risk factors among Cameroonian blood donors. An adapted DHQ and score that discriminate HIV-negative donors may be an inexpensive means of reducing transfusion-transmitted HIV through predonation screening.