To the Editor.—
Based on the following findings, we wish to alert the medical community to the need for preventive and educational measures about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in clinics where women are evaluated for abnormal Papanicolaou smears.
In the colposcopy clinic of a public hospital in New York City that women attend for evaluation of abnormal Papanicolaou smears, aliquots of blood samples, drawn for other reasons, were evaluated for the presence of HIV antibodies by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot methods. All patient identifiers were removed from the blood samples except for the ten-year age group. To preserve anonymity, individual risk factors were not identified. Among 66 women under age 50 years tested (94% of those attending the clinic in one month), seven were positive for HIV, a rate of 10.6% (95% confidence interval, 3% to 18%). The proportions by age group were as shown in
Maiman M, Fruchter RG, Serur E, Boyce JG. Prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus in a Colposcopy Clinic. JAMA. 1988;260(15):2214-2215. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410150062014