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June 19, 1987

Fraudulent AIDS

JAMA. 1987;257(23):3231. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390230067024

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To the Editor.—  Because of discrimination or public opinion, many individuals with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) deny or try to hide their diagnosis. We recently encountered the opposite situation, where an individual fabricated an AIDS diagnosis to obtain drugs and defraud the government.

Report of a Case.—  A 29-year-old man was found dead in his bed by his roommates when they returned from their daily visit to a methadone maintenance clinic. Medical records and disability forms were found among the personal papers of the deceased, indicating that he suffered from AIDS. A hospital discharge summary dated eight months previously indicated diagnoses of active AIDS, Kaposi's sarcoma, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and pseudomembranous colitis.Because of the severity of the medical conditions, the forensic pathologist initially concluded that the death was most likely due to complications of AIDS and that an autopsy would not be necessary. Blood was drawn to rule