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October 18, 1985

Containing the AIDS Epidemic

Author Affiliations

New York University Medical Center
New York

JAMA. 1985;254(15):2059. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360150035005

To the Editor.—  While the prefatory remarks in Dr Lundberg's1 editorial on the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) seem counterproductive, he is nonetheless to be congratulated for introducing a valuable list of preventive health measures that warrant consideration.We are writing to suggest additional measures to contain the AIDS epidemic. We believe the following warrant consideration.

  1. The scope of the AIDS epidemic needs to be communicated to drug abusers and the general public. Persons at risk of beginning drug abuse need to know that more than 50% of male and female intravenous (IV) drug abusers in New York City may be infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III) and that a large fraction of these may be capable of transmitting HTLV-III.2,3 Lesser, but substantial, numbers of drug users in other areas also may be infected with HTLV-III. As a precaution, all drug abusers should be assumed