Eleven San Diego Marine Corps trainees and an undisclosed number of Navy recruits who tested positively for AIDS antibodies are being held in special barracks and will not undergo training until more definitive tests are conducted, military spokesmen said.
Since Oct. 1, when the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps began testing recruits for the HTLV-3 antibody, 900 Navy and 674 Marine Corps recruits in San Diego have been screened for the presence of antibodies to the fatal disease that primarily afflicts male homosexuals and drug users.
Lt. Cmdr. Chris Baumann, a Naval Training Center spokesman, would not say how many of the Navy's trainees tested positively. However, the men who did show signs of the antibodies in blood tests are being held in barracks where recruits too sick or injured to perform duties are held.
"We have put these people on medical hold," Baumann said. "We want to be very careful that we don't label these guys as lepers."
Blood samples from both the 11 Marine Corps recruits and the Navy men have been sent to Bethesda, Md., for additional testing, said Maj. Stuart Wagner, a spokesman for the Marine Crops Recruit Depot.
If those blood samples also turn up positive, the recruits would probably receive medical discharges, the men said. But if results are negative, the recruits will continue their military training.
"We are trying to keep this a medical issue and keep it confidential," Wagner said. "We want to treat them with dignity."