Risk of window period HIV infection in high infectious risk donors: Systematic review and meta-analysis

L. M. Kucirka, H. Sarathy, P. Govindan, J. H. Wolf, T. A. Ellison, L. J. Hart, R. A. Montgomery, R. L. Ros, D. L. Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The OPTN defines high risk donors (HRDs), colloquially known as 'CDC high risk donors', as those thought to carry an increased risk of HIV window period (WP) infection prior to serologic detectability. However, the true risk of such infection remains unknown. To quantify the risk of WP infection in each HRD behavior category, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of HIV prevalence and incidence. Of 3476 abstracts reviewed, 27 eligible studies of HIV infection in HRD populations were identified. Pooled HIV incidence estimates were calculated for each category of HRD behavior and used to calculate the risk of WP HIV infection. Risks ranged from 0.09-12.1 per 10 000 donors based on WP for ELISA and 0.04-4.9 based on nucleic acid testing (NAT), with NAT reducing WP risk by over 50% in each category. Injection drug users had the greatest risk of WP infection (4.9 per 10 000 donors by NAT WP), followed by men who have sex with men (4.2:10 000), commercial sex workers (2.7:10 000), incarcerated donors (0.9:10 000), donors exposed to HIV through blood (0.6:10 000), donors engaging in high-risk sex (0.3:10 000) and hemophiliacs (0.035:10 000). These estimates can help inform patient and provider decision making regarding HRDs. To better understand the risk of undetected HIV infection in deceased donors in high-risk behavior categories, the authors perform a meta-analysis, pooling incidence rates from studies of high-risk populations and converting them into estimates of window period infections. See editorial by Pruett on page 1115.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1187
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Deceased donor transplantation
  • HIV
  • NAT
  • high-risk donor
  • organ utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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