- CHICAGO (AP) - Blacks donating blood for the first time are 25 times
more likely than whites to have recently acquired HIV infections, according
to research which seems to document a growing racial divide in AIDS cases.
- The research announced Tuesday examined
blood donors, who are among the least likely of all people to be infected.
Those who do risky things, such as inject drugs, are discouraged from giving.
And since most donors do so repeatedly, they have already passed earlier
- Recently, scientists developed a method
of testing blood that reveals whether the infection is new or long-standing.
They used it to look for fresh infections among people across the country
who were giving blood for the first time.
- Dr. Michael P. Busch and others from
the Blood Centers of the Pacific in San Francisco used the new method to
analyze the samples of 1.7 million first-time donors. Of the total, 427
were HIV-infected. The new test revealed that 58 of them had been infected
within the previous few weeks.
- The analysis showed that about 2 of every
100,000 white donors annually are newly infected, compared with 51 per
100,000 among blacks and less than four among Hispanics and Asians.
- Researchers said the results indicate
that AIDS is evolving from being largely an illness of white homosexuals
to one of poor blacks who catch it through drug abuse and heterosexual
- Nationally, more than half of all HIV
infections are among blacks.
- Dr. Martha Rogers of the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention said the latest data reflect ''the well-recognized
shift in the epidemic to people of color.''
- Among other findings of the study:
- * The number of new infections among
first-time donors remained steady between 1993 and 1996, the years sampled.
* Men were twice as likely as women to be infected. * Infections among
new donors were highest in the South, where there were 25 infections per
100,000, and lowest in the central and western parts of the country, where
there were less than 2.
- The data were presented Tuesday at the
6th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.
- Among other reports at the meeting, researchers
from the Federal University of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, showed that about
15% of men on powerful AIDS medicines still have measurable amounts of
the virus in their semen. Doctors have hoped that the drugs would reduce
virus levels so low that infected people will be less likely to spread