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HIV-Tainted Blood Infects Two In Fla.

Two people have contracted HIV from blood transfusions provided by a regional blood bank that failed to detect an infected donor, officials said.

The incident marks the second time since the nation's blood banks implemented new screening technology in 1999 that HIV has been transmitted through a transfusion, according to Florida Blood Services. The first case infected a man in San Antonio, Texas, in September.

The victims, one young adult and one in the mid-60s, were told Wednesday they contracted HIV from blood and plasma transfusions in Hillsborough and Pinellas county hospitals, according to Florida Blood Services, which processed the blood.

The donor gave infected blood on May 11, but had contracted the disease so recently that tests did not detect it, said German LeParc, chief medical officer for the blood bank. The virus takes seven to 10 days to build up sufficiently for detection.

When the donor returned to give blood again May 30, it tested positive for HIV and that donation was destroyed, LeParc said. The donor was notified and officials began tracking down patients who received the previous donation.

Experts said the chance of getting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from donated blood is one in 2 million to 3 million transfusions, and they stress that the nation's blood supply remains very safe.

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