Red Cross blood centers across the country are preparing to notify donors this month--either by phone, by certified mail or in person--whose blood shows signs of exposure to the deadly disease AIDS, officials said today.
The American Red Cross, which is responsible for about half the nation’s blood supply, has been running tests on its blood since early March to detect evidence of exposure to the virus which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
About two in every 1,000 donated units of blood have tested positive for AIDS virus, said Dr. Alfred Grindon, director of blood services at the Atlanta center. All such blood is destroyed.
Tested Three Times
About 25% of the suspect blood units have come out positive in three separate tests--one blood test, a repeat of that test and a test using a different scientific method--said Dr. S. Gerald Sandler, associate vice president for medical operations at American Red Cross headquarters in Washington.
Those donors will be notified that they show signs of exposure to AIDS virus “not later than July 1,” he said.
A positive AIDS virus test does not mean that the person has the disease; it simply means the person has been exposed to the virus which causes AIDS. Scientists have estimated that as many as 1 million Americans may have been exposed to the virus, although fewer than 11,000 have contracted the disease.