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Containing the AIDS Epidemic

Neil Schram, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(15):2059-2060. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360150035006.
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To the Editor.—  The editorial by Dr Lundberg1 discusses some preventive measures for people to take to protect themselves from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) virus. Although those practices were described as simple in the editorial, the implementation of the last three is virtually impossible at present even for someone who is willing to comply."Persons who are carrying the AIDS virus should not become pregnant." To implement that advice, any female who is considering pregnancy should be tested for the AIDS virus. How? The only tests readily available at present are antibody tests. While a positive confirmed test result is probably significant, a negative result does not ensure freedom from infection: first, the result of an antibody test does not become positive until sometime after infection. Second, as reported in the same issue of JAMA by Carlson et al,2 ten of 69 AIDS patients were negative in


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