For the first time since Japan began screening blood donations in 1986, over 100 donors have tested HIV positive, the Associated Press (AP) reports (, 1/22).

In a report released on January 21 by the Japanese Red Cross, 102 blood donors tested HIV positive in 2007, up 15 percent from the previous year. At the same time, overall blood donations hit an all-time low of just under 5 million.

According to the article, officials from Japan’s health ministry believe this is an indication that people are donating blood with the sole intention of getting tested. “To prevent the possibility of the virus spreading, the ministry is urging the public to refrain from blood donations for such purposes,” one official told the AP. Since the tests were performed solely to prevent contamination of the blood supply, the donors will not be informed of their status.