BACKGROUND: In April 2015, the government of Georgia (country) initiated the worldʼs first national hepatitis C elimination program. An analysis of blood donor infectious screening data was conducted to inform a strategic plan to advance blood transfusion safety in Georgia. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Descriptive analysis of blood donation records (2015-2017) was performed to elucidate differences in demographics, donor type, remuneration status, and seroprevalence for infectious markers (hepatitis C virus antibody [anti-HCV], human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], hepatitis B virus surface antigen [HBsAg], and Treponema pallidum). For regression analysis, final models included all variables associated with the outcome in bivariate analysis (chi-square) with a p value of less than 0.05. RESULTS: During 2015 to 2017, there were 251,428 donations in Georgia, representing 112,093 unique donors; 68.5% were from male donors, and 51.2% of donors were paid or replacement (friends or family of intended recipient). The overall seroprevalence significantly declined from 2015 to 2017 for anti-HCV (2.3%-1.4%), HBsAg (1.5%-1.1%), and T. pallidum (1.1%-0.7%) [p < 0.0001]; the decline was not significant for HIV (0.2%-0.1%). Only 41.0% of anti-HCV seropositive donors underwent additional testing to confirm viremia. Infectious marker seroprevalence varied by age, sex, and geography. In multivariable analysis, first-time and paid donor status were associated with seropositivity for all four infectious markers. CONCLUSION: A decline during the study period in infectious markers suggests improvement in blood safety in Georgia. Areas that need further improvement are donor recruitment, standardization of screening and diagnostic follow-up, quality assurance, and posttransfusion surveillance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy