To the Editor.—
Cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are being reported at an ever-increasing rate in Brazil, with over 1000 cases reported by the end of 1986. It is clear that a serious problem already exists and will certainly get worse.The screening of blood for evidence of antibody to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is obviously one way whereby the spread of infection through transfusion can be prevented. However, although the need to screen blood has finally been accepted by the health authorities, it is proving difficult to implement such screening, as blood transfusion is largely in the hands of private commercial organizations, most of them using paid donors. Some of these blood banks do screen routinely, but no information is available on how widely this is practiced. Only about 10% of blood (from unpaid donors) is distributed through government centers and even this is not routinely screened, partly
Castro BG, Fernandez JCC, de Castilho EA, Pereira HG, Pereira MS, Cruz FO. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Brazil. JAMA. 1987;257(19):2592–2593. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390190070013
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