Risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus among blood donors in Cameroon: evidence for the design of an Africa-specific donor history questionnaire

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Abstract

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 82.6 ± 6.7 (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.

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