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Blood products


HIV transmission through blood and blood products is now extremely rare in the UK, as we have a very safe blood supply.

The introduction of a viral inactivation system in 1985 and of regulations restricting donations to the National Blood Service (NBS) has been very successful. Find out more about our stance on these restrictions.

Blood-related diagnoses do still occur in the UK, but they can usually be traced to exposure in countries that do not employ the same safety techniques. Since the introduction of testing for HIV in 1985, there have been three cases of transmission of the virus to patients through blood from donors in the 'window period' for testing. There has not been a confirmed case of HIV transmission in the UK blood supply in the last 10 years.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s haemophilia treatments were made from pooled donated blood. Some of this blood came from people who had HIV or other blood borne viruses, such as hepatitis. Find out more about haemophilia and HIV.


Up to the end of 2014, around 2,039 people had been infected with HIV through blood or tissue transfer in the UK. Approximately 80% of cases were diagnosed before 1992. There were 24 people diagnosed in 2014 who had acquired HIV this way.

All diagnoses made since 2002 are attributed to infections acquired outside of the UK.



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 19/11/2015 by T. Kelaart

Date due for the next review: 19/11/2017

Content Author: D. Laycock

Current Owner: Policy

More information:

Public Health England, HIV in the United Kingdom: 2015 Report, London: Health Protection Services, Colindale. (November 2015)

Public Health England, HIV in the United Kingdom: data table, London: Health Protection Services, Colindale. (November 2015)

Report On Blood Borne Infections And Blood Donations, SABTO (2012)

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