To the Editor.
—In the analysis1 of the controversy surrounding the participation of HIV-infected patients in autologous blood programs, Mintz does not appropriately compare the risks incurred by an HIV-positive patient who receives a unit of blood from the volunteer blood supply with the risk of HIV transmission as a result of an erroneous administration of a unit of HIV-positive blood that had been donated for autologous transfusion. He cites data to indicate that the rate of infusing allogeneic blood into the wrong patient is one per 12000 units, and if the unit is HIV-infected, more than 90% of the recipients will become infected, each with a fatal disease.In contrast, the risk of morbidity and mortality incurred as a result of receiving a unit of blood from a volunteer donor is much less. The greatest risk of death following transfusion is caused by non-A, non-B hepatitis (hepatitis C).
Petz LD, Kleinman S. HIV-Infected Patients Participating in Autologous Blood Programs. JAMA. 1993;270(18):2181. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510180051030