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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in hemophiliacs


From mid-1977 to mid-1983 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has received reports of more than
2,100 cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These cases had either biopsy-confirmed
Kaposi’s sarcoma or a biopsy or culture confirmed life-threatening opportunistic infection, without
an identifiable cause of immunosuppression. Reports of AIDS in hemo­philiacs began to appear in
January 1982. As of October 6, 1983, CDC has confirmed 18 reports of AIDS in United States (U.S.)
hemophiliacs and 5 outside the U.S. Two had other known risk factors for AIDS.  Seventeen of these
cases had Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. (PCP). The mortality rate for the 23 hemophiliac cases
was 70 percent. Immunologic findings included lymphopenia, a decreased ratio of T helper/T
suppressor lymphocytes, and hypergammaglobulinemia. Most hemophiliac cases did not reside in
areas of high risk for AIDS. All cases had received factor and, often, other blood products in the
5 years prior to the AIDS diagnosis. The racial distribution of hemophiliac AIDS patients resembled
that of transfusion-associated AIDS patients. Hemophiliac AIDS patients resembled both transfusion-associated and IV-drug abuser AIDS patients and differed from homosexuals with AIDS in regard
to associated diagnoses. The epidemiology of these cases is consistent with the possibility that
AIDS is caused by an agent transmissible through blood products. These data support the need for
current blood product related precautions issued by the National Hemophilia Foundation and by the
Public Health Service.


Jason JM, Evatt BL, Chorba TL, Ramsey RB

Scand J Hematol (Suppl 40) 1984;33:349‚ÄĎ356.