Screening of selected male blood donors for p24 antigen of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. The Transfusion Safety Study Group

The New England Journal of Medicine
M P BuschJ W Mosley


The p24 antigen of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is sometimes detected before antibody (anti-HIV-1) is detectable in the serum of recently infected persons. This has led to the consideration of p24-antigen testing for routine screening of blood donors. To estimate how many HIV-infected seronegative donors would be identified if p24-antigen screening was introduced, we tested selected donations from a repository of 200,000 serum samples from voluntary donors that was established in late 1984 and early 1985. The 8597 serum samples selected for p24-antigen screening were chosen because their donors had demographic characteristics known to be associated with a high prevalence of seropositivity. The prevalence of anti-HIV-1 antibodies in the 1984-1985 serum samples selected for p24-antigen screening was 1.54 percent--more than 100 times the 0.012 percent prevalence in present-day donations in the United States. The antigen was detected in 15 of 132 serum samples (11.4 percent) from donors who had already been confirmed as seropositive. No instance of confirmed positivity for p24 antigen was found among the 8465 seronegative serum samples. These data indicate that the yield of screening for p24 antigen in volunteer dono...Continue Reading

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