We investigated 18 sets of blood donors from 12 to 50 months after they donated blood to recipients who subsequently developed the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Within each donor set, only one donor was suspected of having transmitted the disease (ie, member of an AIDS risk group). The other donors (n = 189) were not risk group members and served as controls. A number of laboratory tests distinguished suspected from nonsuspected donors, including determination of T helper/T suppressor cell ratio, antibody to hepatitis B core antigen, and immune complexes, but none of these was as sensitive and specific as tests for antibody to the human retrovirus, HTLV-III/LAV.

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