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February 4, 1983

Preventing AIDS transmission: should blood donors be screened?

JAMA. 1983;249(5):567-570. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330290003001

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During the past year, evidence has accumulated to suggest that the lethal and mysterious acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) can be spread by infusion of blood and blood products.

Initially, patients with AIDS were mostly from two groups, male homosexuals with histories of numerous sexual contacts and persons who abused intravenous (IV) drugs (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1982;248:1423-1431). Disease transmission among these two groups could be explained by person-to-person contact and shared needles.

A few cases were also described among native Haitians in both Haiti and the United States.

But in late 1981 and early 1982, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, began to receive reports of cases of AIDS among persons with hemophilia A. Since these persons all received multiple infusions of factor VIII concentrate, the reports raised the possibility that the putative infectious agent in AIDS could be transmitted through blood products. As of mid-January 1983, there were eight