New tests up odds to detect HIV

A few months after two patients contracted HIV from contaminated blood given by a donor, the Health Ministry yesterday launched an improved blood test system in northern Greece that is designed to better detect viruses. Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopolous inaugurated the Molecular Blood Testing Center of Macedonia – equipped to conduct nucleic acid testing (NAT) – at the AHEPA hospital in Thessaloniki. «All Greeks can feel safer as donating blood in our country is done according to strict criteria, with methods and technology that meet European and international standards,» Avramopoulos said. In March, authorities said a 17-year-old girl and a 76-year-old man had contracted HIV from the blood of a donor who was infected with HIV a few days before donating. The blood was tested but the test used at the time only detected HIV if had been contracted 22 days or more before the donation. The improved testing method will be able to detect HIV if it has been contracted 11 days or more before donation.