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Voluntary Self-Exclusion to Reduce Transmission of AIDS by Blood Transfusion

Robert I. Kalish, MD, PhD; Ritchard G. Cable, MD; Stanley C. Roberts, MA
JAMA. 1987;257(1):28-29. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390010032018.
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To the Editor.—  Although we agree with the concluding statement of Wykoff and Halsey1 that "there is a need for continued... antibody screening of all donated blood products," we disagree with their conclusion regarding the importance of voluntary self-deferral of blood donor groups at high risk for transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the etiologic agent of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The majority of high-risk volunteer blood donors are men who have had sex with another man since 1977, the earliest documented date of entry of HIV into the US population. We2 and others3 have shown that various methods to make such high-risk donors aware of the importance of self-deferral are indeed effective in reducing the number of donations potentially able to transmit HIV, as judged by seropositivity. In our own study, for example, the dual strategy of (1) rewording the deferral indication from "males who


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