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Prevalence and incidence of human immunodeficiency virus among patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis. The Cooperative Dialysis Study Group


PURPOSE: The purpose of this voluntary multicenter study was to estimate the prevalence and incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and the risk of nosocomial transmission of HIV in hemodialysis patients in the United States.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In June 1986, we began collecting epidemiologic data, risk factor information, and serum for HIV antibody testing from long-term hemodialysis patients on entry into the study and 1 year later.

RESULTS: Initial data and specimens were collected from 1,324 patients in 28 dialysis centers in 12 states. On entry, 26 were positive or equivocal by enzyme immunoassay; 13 of these were positive by Western blot assay (overall seroprevalence 0.98%). Seroprevalence was higher for patients tested in eight centers located in areas from which a high cumulative incidence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome has been reported (500 or more cases per 1 million persons) than for patients in other areas (10 of 387 [2.6%] versus three of 937 [0.3%]; p = 0.00048). According to their dialysis records, all 13 of the Western blot-positive patients had received transfusions. Seropositive patients were not more likely to have received a transfusion than seronegative patients (13 of 13 versus 1,038 of 1,311; p = 0.08). The confidential risk factor questionnaire was completed by 1,206 (91%) patients including nine of 13 (69%) of the seropositive patients. A question on sharing needles for injection of drugs was answered by 1,158 patients; seropositive patients were more likely to report they had shared needles than seronegative patients (five of nine versus 17 of 1,149; p = 0.0000002). After 1 year of follow-up, data were collected from 667 patients, including 254 negative patients who underwent dialysis at centers with seropositive patients. None of the previously seronegative patients seroconverted, yielding an incidence rate of 0% (upper limit of 95% confidence interval = 0.45%). No case of possible nosocomial transmission was identified.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that use of long-standing infection control precautions is effective minimizing the risk of transmission of HIV in hemodialysis settings.

Marcus R, Favero MS, Banerjee S, Solomon SL, Bell DM, Jarvis WR, Martone WJ

Am. J. Med. 1991 May;90(5):614-9

PMID: 1851396