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June 21, 1985

Potential Liability for Transfusion-Associated AIDS

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia Medical School, and the Program of Epidemiology, University of Virginia Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (Dr Wenzel and Ms Miller), and the University of Virginia School of Law (Mssrs O'Connell and Leipold), Charlottesville.

JAMA. 1985;253(23):3419-3424. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350470071023

THE CENTERS for Disease Control (CDC) defines a case of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) as "a disease, at least moderately predictive of a defect in cell-mediated immunity, occurring in a person with no known cause for diminished resistance to that disease."1 As of Jan 8, 1985, there were 7,788 reported cases of AIDS in the United States, with 3,687 deaths (John Ward, MD, oral communication, CDC, AIDS Activity, Jan 8, 1985). Eighty percent of cases reported to date have been concentrated in six metropolitan areas.2 In addition, reports of AIDS have emanated from 47 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, DC, and 36 countries.3,4

First identified in homosexual and bisexual men with multiple sexual partners,5-11 AIDS has subsequently afflicted intravenous (IV) drug users,1 female sexual partners of IV drug users,12,13 hemophiliacs,2,3,14-32 Haitians,33 and infants born to mothers from high-risk groups—raising concerns about in