The Talmud teaches that the Almighty first created mankind as a single individual, rather than a group of people, to teach us that one who saves a single life saves a world, and one who destroys a single life, destroys an entire world.
We see that the individual is of intrinsic importance manifested in Jewish law in a multitude of areas.
In Jewish theology, the individual is of paramount importance.
This is aptly stated by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, current Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, in his book, , regarding the contribution of the Jews to the world's concept of morality.
Although we choose to save a particular individual and others may die, we have not directly caused their deaths.
However, we could not kill one person in order to save another, unless the party we are killing is a rodef, someone pursuing another to kill them (see: Abortion in Jewish Law).
While the secular word entertains the idea of removing organs from very ill patients by obtaining consent to withdraw life-support, halacha unequivocally rejects the idea of sacrificing the life of even the sickest patient to save the life of another.
It must be understood that testing donated blood was expensive and there was a window of time between HIV infection and conversion to a positive HIV test.
If the yield of clean blood after expensive testing for HIV is so low that it is not economically viable to test, and the risk of HIV tainted blood entering the blood supply is high enough, then secretly discarding the blood is not only prudent from a medical and economic point of view, but shows respect for the Ethiopians by not publicly labeling them as diseased.
If one questions the wisdom of such an approach, one need only look to the American Red Cross.
After a potential donor is finished donating his or her pint of blood, the donor chooses a bar code that indicates whether their blood should be used or should be discarded. Why would someone donate blood and then ask to have it discarded?