To the Editor.—
We read with interest the March 17 JAMA article by Dr Gostin1 entitled "Public Health Strategies for Confronting AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome]" and felt a need to share with you a problem related to quarantining AIDS patients in state mental hospitals.The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus seropositivity (enzymelinked immunosorbent assay and Western blot test positivity) among hospitalized patients in a study of sentinel hospitals throughout the country was 0.3%.2 The prevalence of positivity among all patients tested through the South Dakota Health Department's laboratory during 1988 was 0.32% (R. Louchart, RN, personal communication, February 1989).The South Dakota Human Services Center, with a census of nearly 430 patients, is the sole general psychiatric hospital in the state. Staff physicians there did no routine testing for AIDS during 1988, but rather performed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays on patients deemed to be at high risk. High-risk status
Smith DA, Smith L. The Isolation of HIV- Positive Patients. JAMA. 1989;262(2):208. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430020050018
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