Editor’s note: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information about organ donation policies. The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act allows organs from HIV-positive donors to be transplanted into HIV-positive recipients.
DES MOINES, Iowa – When we donate blood or plasma, it’s common to test for diseases that can be transmitted from one patient to the next.
Because of that, Alexandra Lock is no longer allowed to donate plasma after a test showed something she doesn’t have.
“Obviously, I was confused like going through everything in my head like how could this have happened. There’s no way,” Lock said.
Lock has been donating plasma for years, but a recent trip caught her off guard.
A “reactive” test from CSL Plasma showed she may be positive for HIV. So, she went to her doctor who confirmed she’s HIV negative.
“I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on because I don’t have HIV,” Lock said. “Somewhere something got messed up.”
A statement from CSL Plasma reads, in part: “It is important to realize that screening test results are not conclusive. A positive test result does not indicate a person has a particular disease and a negative test result does not mean a person is disease-free. Moreover, our tests are not intended for diagnostic purposes.”
Still, the inconclusive test landed Lock on the National Donor Deferral Registry, meaning she’s no longer allowed to donate plasma or blood.
She also says she can’t be a surrogate, something she was in the process of signing up for.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, yet I’m the one being punished for it,” Lock said. “So, what can I do?
Lock says her options are slim. The FDA says she should contact the facility that performed the test for removal, something she’s tried to do.
“I feel like every avenue I try is a dead end,” Lock said.
She hasn’t given up yet, but wants other Iowans to be aware of what could happen to them.
“I just hope that there’s an end to this,” Lock said, “and that this doesn’t forever change my life like it is right now.”
Lock is also speaking with lawyers about possibly taking legal action for the money she won’t be able to earn as a donor or surrogate.