Human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus incidence in blood donors from 2000 to 2020 in France: Trends and lessons from haemovigilance surveillance

Vox Sang. 2023 Oct;118(10):843-853. doi: 10.1111/vox.13514. Epub 2023 Sep 11.


Background and objectives: Data from 21 years (2000-2020) of haemovigilance were used to assess human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) incidence rates in repeat blood donors and the occurrence of transfusion-transmitted (TT) viral infections.

Materials and methods: Blood donors who converted for HIV, HCV or HBV markers within serial three-year analysis periods were included. Epidemiological and virological data were retrieved from the national epidemiological donor database and were supplemented with information on blood components and the infection status of recipients of the previous negative donation (D.N-1) of donors who seroconverted.

Results: Incidence rates declined from 1.27 to 0.35/100,000 person-years for HIV, from 0.59 to 0.19 for HCV and from 1.66 to 0.18 for HBV. Risk factors and lookback for 232 HIV, 90 HCV and 74 HBV seroconversions were investigated. The main risk factor identified at post-donation interview was having sex with men (47.8% of males) for HIV and a sexual risk for HCV (30.6%) and HBV (37.1%). The viral loads and sequences were retrospectively tested in 191 HIV, 74 HCV and 62 HBV D.N-1 archived samples. Six (five HBV and one HIV-1) were positive all low viral loads. Two recipients were infected by red blood cells from two HBV seroconverting donors before the introduction of HBV-nucleic acid testing.

Conclusion: HIV, HCV and HBV incidence rates in blood donors declined over the two past decades in France. There is a very small risk of a blood component that tests negative entering the blood supply resulting in TT infections, especially after introduction of molecular assays in donor screening.

Keywords: HIV, HCV, HBV incidence; blood donors; haemovigilance.