SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A Texas man has become the first American infected with the AIDS virus from donated blood since the nation's blood banks implemented rigorous new HIV-screening technology three years ago.
David Autrey, a 51-year-old ranch hand from Chilton, was infected with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, from blood donated at San Antonio's South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
Transmission of the virus occurred during a blood transfusion Autrey received as part of an emergency heart bypass surgery in August 2000 at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, officials said.
"I feel great sympathy for Mr. Autrey," Dr. Norman Kalmin, president and CEO of the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, said Friday. "We've been devastated by the news."
Although the testing process now in use by blood banks is highly sophisticated, it is still considered experimental and can fail to detect the virus in blood from donors who gave blood soon after being exposed to HIV, said Dr. Michael Busch, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco and an executive with Blood Centers of the Pacific.
The tainted blood in Texas came from a man who was a regular donor at the San Antonio blood bank and who had donated four times during 2000, Kalmin said.
When the man donated in December 2000, his blood tested positive for HIV in tests done at the blood bank. Blood-bank workers went through previous donations from the man and tried to recover any blood products that hadn't been used.
"The explanation is that the (donor) was recently exposed," Kalmin said. "It hadn't had the opportunity to multiply to levels that were detectable" in the automated testing.
Experts say the chance of getting HIV from donated blood is one in 2 million to 3 million transfusions, and they stress that the nation's blood supply remains very safe.
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