March 24, 1993

Screening Blood Donors by Computer Interview-Reply

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1993;269(12):1505-1506. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500120043017

In Reply.  —We thank Mr Wright and Dr Silberstein for their comments on the benefits of computer-based interviewing, although we do not agree that its validation is in an embryonic stage. Indeed, computer-based interviewing was described as early as 1966,1 and studies of its utility have yielded positive findings, particularly with regard to the issue of patients' willingness to disclose information of a private and personal nature.2Wright and Silberstein have called attention to the sensitivity and specificity of computer-based interviews in detecting HIV-related risk factors among prospective blood donors. We developed the computer-based interview because of the need to identify potential donors who have recently become infected with HIV but have not yet developed anti-HIV antibodies. These donors pose the greatest threat to the recipients of blood products because there is no blood test sensitive enough to guarantee their identification. (More than 99.98% of all HIV-infected donors