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Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Testing Donors of Organs, Tissues, and Semen for Antibody to Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type III/Lymphadenopathy-Associated Virus

The U.S. Public Health Service has recommended that all donated blood and plasma be tested for antibody to human T-lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus (HTLV-III/LAV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (1). It is additionally recommended that blood or serum from donors of organs, tissues, or semen intended for human use be similarly tested and that the test result be used to evaluate the appropriate use of such materials from these donors. Although AIDS has not been reported to have been associated with such use, semen and other body fluids, including blood, may harbor the virus. Thus, organs, tissues, and semen obtained from HTLV-III/LAV antibody-positive persons must be considered as potentially infectious. Persons in groups having an increased risk for AIDS should not donate organs, tissues, or semen, regardless of the result of the antibody test; this is the same policy currently followed for blood donations. It is recognized that the circumstances of organ procurement and the logistics of transplantation may in some instances not permit the use of an HTLV-III/LAV test. However, when feasible such testing is prudent. Reported by U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration; National Institutes of Health; Health Resources and Svcs Administration; CDC.


  1. CDC. Provisional Public Health Service inter-agency recommendations for screening donated blood and plasma for antibody to the virus causing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. MMWR 1985;34:1-5.

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