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April 1986

Antibody to the Retrovirus Associated With the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS): Presence in Presumably Healthy San Franciscans Who Died Unexpectedly

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Coleman, Luce, Dodek, Levy, and Murray), Laboratory Medicine (Drs Wagar and Hadley), Pathology (Dr Margaretten), and Epidemiology and International Health (Dr Moss), San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco; the Coroner's Office (Drs Ferrer and Stephens) and the Department of Public Health Virology Laboratory (Dr Wilber), City and County of San Francisco; and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, Memphis (Dr Pifer).

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(4):713-715. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360160137018

• We performed autopsies and serologic tests in 189 subjects (152 men and 37 women) between 20 and 50 years of age with no history of immunosuppression who died unexpectedly and whose bodies were referred to the San Francisco coroner's office. Forty-eight of the 88 single men for whom addresses were available lived in areas of the city with a high incidence of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In addition, 36 of the subjects (30 men) were intravenous drug abusers. Antibody to the retrovirus associated with AIDS was present in 23 (18%) of the 121 subjects whose sera were tested. However, neither pathologic nor laboratory manifestations of AIDS were present in any of the 189 subjects who underwent autopsy. These results suggest that antibody to the retrovirus is common but subclinical manifestations of AIDS are uncommon in San Francisco, a city where the incidence of clinical AIDS is high.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:713-715)

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