Indian government agency suggests biometric verification for blood donor screening

An Indian government agency is proposing that blood donor’s identities be biometrically verified to prevent the use of fake credentials and enable donors to be informed if they test positive for HIV during the process, The Hindu Business Online reports.

Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) is seeking changes to the donor screening process at government blood banks after a pregnant woman received a blood transfusion infected with HIV, causing widespread outrage.
Those notified of a positive test could proceed to antiretroviral therapy more quickly, which is associated with better health outcomes, TANSACS Project Director Dr. K. Senthil Raj said, according to The Hindu Business Online.

“Biometrics will not only help initiation of ART at the right time but will offer additional help to avoid transfusion of infected blood,” Raj says.

He noted that some men feel pressured to donate blood in order to hide their HIV-positive status, and called the biometric verification proposal a “win-win,” allowing infected individuals to receive treatment and access support networks, while easing the detection of infected blood.

As a government service, the blood banks may be able to use Aadhaar verification, though the details of a ban on Aadhaar requirement by private entities in a Supreme Court ruling are still being worked out.

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