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January 4, 1985

β2-Microglobulin and the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in a Low-Incidence Area

Author Affiliations

Cleveland Clinic

JAMA. 1985;253(1):43. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350250051018

To the Editor.—  The study of Zolla-Pazner et al1 is important in the search for useful clinical tests for diagnosis and management of persons at high risk for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). They have demonstrated that β2-microglobulin (β2M) is a highly sensitive and specific test for AIDS and AIDS-like illnesses. Furthermore, they have shown it to be of prognostic value with six of seven healthy homosexuals with elevated levels progressing to some form of clinical disease. We would like to draw attention to the fact that sensitivity and specificity data, derived from areas where the incidence and prevalence of clinical and subclinical disease are high, may not be totally relevant in areas with a lower incidence and prevalence of clinical and subclinical disease.The northeastern Ohio area contains approximately 3.5 million people, and as of Jan 1,1984, has reported 15 cases of AIDS. From