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Tracing HIV-Infected Blood Recipients: Large-Scale Recipient Screening vs Look-Back Testing

Ambrose T. Ng, MD; Mary A. Conway, MS, MT(ASCP)SBB; Emily Blanda, MT(ASCP); Rita M. Killigrew, MLT(ASCP)BB; Carol A. Eastman, MBA, MT(ASCP)
JAMA. 1987;258(2):201-202. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400020043013.
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To the Editor.—  In March 1987, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that physicians offer testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to selected patients who had received multiple transfusions between 1978 and late spring of 1985. This recommendation was based on a study showing that 8% of leukemic patients in New York City were infected with HIV from blood transfusions received prior to routine screening of donated blood for HIV antibody.1As of April 29, 1987, we have tested 2343 blood recipients through our program to provide HIV testing to those individuals who had received a transfusion of blood components between Jan 1, 1977, and June 1, 1985. This program was developed in response to the CDC report mentioned above.We had previously attempted to trace potentially infected recipients through a "look-back" program, wherein a blood-collection facility traces and tests recipients of any blood transfusions received prior


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