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January 11, 1985

Medical News

JAMA. 1985;253(2):173-181. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350260011001

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HTLV-III testing of donor blood imminent; complex issues remain  Testing of donated blood for antibodies to human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV-III)—which, like the possibly identical lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), is the putative infectious agent of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)—will very likely begin at blood collection centers throughout this country within the next few months. The purpose, says Lowell T. Harmison, PhD, science adviser to the assistant secretary of health, US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is "to insure the safety of the American blood supply."No one among the dozens of physicians and other scientists interviewed denies the need to safeguard the blood supply. However, several point out the numerous problems associated with assessing the sensitivity and specificity of the test itself, and cite the precautions required to protect the confidentiality of those who are found to be seropositive."The ambiguity of the test adds to the