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The Presentation by the CDC of Data on AIDS

C. A. Caceres, MD
JAMA. 1986;255(23):3246-3247. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370230052017.
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To the Editor.—  Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have obscured meaningful information since the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was first reported. Review of the CDC's statistical tables shows that up to 1986, these tables led physicians to the erroneous impression that only 17% of the AIDS patients were intravenous drug abusers. After some publicity (The Wall Street Journal, Oct 24, 1985, p 32), the CDC abruptly changed its reporting to acknowledge that the real incidence was 25.1%.1 Unfortunately, the CDC still does not categorize the AIDS population according to the extent of abuse of oral immunosuppressive drugs, such as LSD, methylenedioxyamphetamine, and cocaine-which the CDC's own estimates suggest is as high as 75% in homosexual subsets.The presentation of data on AIDS by the CDC continues to be confusing. To illustrate: the CDC collects data on AIDS patients who have had sex with other AIDS patients, but


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