The first AIDS case in India was identified in 1986. 307 full-blown cases of AIDS and 11,406 HIV-seropositive individuals have been reported since then from 32 states and union territories in the country. Although a seropositivity rate of 7.4 per 1000 has been calculated, several estimates of HIV prevalence in India suggest that 300,000-1,000,000 may be infected. The sharing of syringes and needles among IV drug users in northeastern India and multi-partner sex in the rest of the country are the two distinct patterns of HIV transmission in India. The World Health Organization (WHO) realizes the potential threat posed by HIV and the major role played in its transmission by blood and blood products. WHO has therefore through a Global Blood Safety initiative issued a consensus statement on accelerated strategies to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by blood transfusion. The organization argues that the risk of transmission can be controlled by establishing safe practices for blood transfusion services ensuring perfect quality assurance procedures. Such practices and procedures are of particular importance in India given the large number of people infected and the many people who sell their blood to institutions and blood banks. The authors present WHO recommendations and describe measures in India to ensure the safety of blood and blood products. Current national health policy is not stringent enough to provide a safe supply of blood to hospitals and also fails to initiate any legal action against those involved in blood trading. Professional blood sellers should be discouraged from providing blood, while volunteers should be encouraged to come forth. Furthermore, the high percentage of unnecessary and cosmetic transfusions should be avoided, and the proportion of planned transfusions maximized with emphasis given to teaching the masses to promote blood gifting.