During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, thousands of Americans became infected with HIV through the nation's blood supply. Because little reliable information existed at the time AIDS first began showing up in hemophiliacs and in others who had received transfusions, experts disagreed about whether blood and blood products could transmit the disease.
During this period of great uncertainty, decisionmaking regarding the blood supply became increasingly difficult and fraught with risk. This volume provides a balanced inquiry into the blood safety controversy, which involves private sexual practices, personal tragedy for the victims of HIV/AIDS, and public confidence in America's blood services system.
The book focuses on critical decisions as information about the danger to the blood supply emerged. The committee draws conclusions about what was done--and recommends what should be done to produce better outcomes in the face of future threats to blood safety.
The committee frames its analysis around four critical area
- Product treatment--Could effective methods for inactivating HIV in blood have been introduced sooner?
- Donor screening and referral--including a review of screening to exlude high-risk individuals.
- Regulations and recall of contaminated blood--analyzing decisions by federal agencies and the private sector.
- Risk communication--examining whether infections could have been averted by better communication of the risks.
"This very useful book essentially represents the work of the Committee to Study HIV Transmission Through Blood and Blood Products of the Institute of Medicine, which was formed in 1993. It chronicles the history of how government and the private sector dealt with the issue of protecting the U.S. blood supply from HIV infection in the 1980s, provides an excellent overview of the U.S. blood supply system, and details issues such as product treatment, donor screening and deferral, regulations and recall, and risk communication to physicians and patients. Most readers will find the committee's recommendations of special interest, based as they are on the problems identified during the course of its work...The issues identified by the committee and its recommendations not only relate to HIV but to all risks associated with blood and blood products. As a consequence, this volume is highly recommended to a broad range of readers from treating clinicians to public health specialists and policy makers. It is comprehensive, extremely well written, and represents an important current contribution to this important field." Community Health
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