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October 11, 1985

The Transmission of HTLV-III

Author Affiliations

Olympic Valley, Calif

JAMA. 1985;254(14):1901. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360140053008

To the Editor.—  A possible explanation of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in heterosexual males that I have not seen discussed is suggested by the data reported (among other places) in the June 21 issue of The Journal.1 Since there is no evidence reported that the female prostitutes servicing the American military in West Germany themselves had AIDS, it is possible that the disease was in fact acquired from infected sperm of a prior customer of the prostitute that remained alive in the vaginal canal—a sort of quasihomosexual contact. This possibility would be increased in circumstances such as those from which the data were drawn—members of the military having intercourse with local prostitutes. It is not unlikely that these prostitutes (1) had multiple partners during a very short period and (2) performed no more than perfunctory external cleansing between customers.This would heighten the possibility that a male customer came in