HIV continues to spread in India mainly through heterosexual intercourse, but also among homosexual men and through blood transfusion. The government of India has mandated since 1992 that donor blood from the larger cities be screened for hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV infections. It is expected that this policy will be extended to other cities. Surat is a town 250 km north of Bombay. Approximately 50% of blood is obtained from professional donors to meet the requirement of blood for transfusion. The authors investigated the extent to which blood from professional and voluntary blood donors was infected with HIV-1, HIV-2, HBV, and hepatitis C virus (HCV). They tested 85 blood samples from professional blood donors and 94 samples from voluntary donors from Surat and Pune, respectively, using ELISA and immunoassay. 56 of the professional blood donors were HIV-1-seropositive, 2 of whom were also seropositive for HIV-2. The voluntary donors were seronegative for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. With regard to infection with HBV, 9 samples from professional donors were reactive for HBsAg, 62 of the total 85 samples were reactive for anti-HBs, and 1 sample was borderline reactive. Among the voluntary donors, 6 were reactive for HBsAg, 3 were borderline reactive for HBsAg, and 5 were reactive for anti-HBs. 47 samples from professional donors were reactive for antibodies to HCV, while 13 samples were indeterminate. 4 voluntary donors were reactive for anti-HCV and 5 were indeterminate. The professional blood donors typically were of lower socioeconomic level, among whom awareness about HIV infection and AIDS is incomplete. The voluntary donors, however, were of relatively higher socioeconomic status, and donated blood to help society or as replacement donors. This latter group was more aware of HIV transmission and AIDS. Many blood banks in India still procure blood from professional donors, most likely the reason why parenterally-transmitted HIV infection still takes place in India.