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AIDS in pregnancy, donors and tears.

AIDS in women may be exacerbated by pregnancy, according to researchers at the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. They followed the syndrome in three pregnant women who presumably got AIDS from intravenous drug use. The researchers found that the disease took its fatal course unusually quickly--all three died during their initial hospital admission for AIDS. Two women delivered their babies before dying; the babies are alive and AIDS free, says Howard Minkoff, one of the Downstate researchers.

It could be that the women's early AIDS symptoms were passed off as side effects of pregnancy so that they were not diagnosed until relatively late in the course of the disease. Or the slightly lowered immunity of pregnant women could have put up less of a fight against it, suggests Minkoff. Details of the cases will be reported soon in OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY.

Elsewhere on the AIDS front, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends in the Sept. 6 MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORT that men who have had even a single homosexual experience since 1977 refrain from giving blood. While the newly instituted AIDS blood screens (SN: 8/10/85, p. 84) are "highly sensitive and specific," self-deferral of potential virus carriers "provides additional safety," the CDC reports.

The recommendation was prompted by the high proportion among antibody-positive people of men who have had homosexual experiences but do not consider themselves homosexual, according to Harold W. Jaffe of the CDC.

And finally, researchers from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., have officially reported their isolation of the AIDS virus from tears of a patient with AIDS. While casual contact with AIDS patients' tears has not been associated with the syndrome, "direct contact with the tears of AIDS patients, including contact during routine ophthalmologic procedures, should be minimized," they recommend in the Sept. 7 LANCET.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 21, 1985
Words:306
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