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Test your knowledge of AIDS: a self-quiz.

Test your knowledge of AIDS: A self-quiz

Considerable research efforts during the 1980s have disclosed a great deal about acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Much of the information is reassuring to health care workers concerned about the occupational risk of contracting AIDS.

The problem is that not all health care workers keep abreast of the growing scientific literature on AIDS. Many rely more on the media--and on sometimes incomplete and inaccurate reports--for their information. Thus we have incidents of hospital personnel refusing to handle specimens from AIDS patients under any circumstances. Others do their duty but feel fear and stress.

Aggravating this situation is the fact that many points about AIDS remain unclear. Since we are still learning, how can anyone be sure that recommended precautions for health care workers provide sufficient protection against the disease?

In answer to that last question, I present the following quiz. It covers what is known about AIDS. Test yourself. If you have the right answers, I believe you probably are in that camp of health care workers who are concerned but not alarmed. On the other hand, if many of the answers--to be found on page 104--are news to you, perhaps you will begin to feel calmer on the subject of AIDS.

1. As of June 1, 1986, how many AIDS cases were diagnosed in the U.S.?

a. More than 5,000

b. More than 10,000

c. More than 20,000

d. More than 30,000

2. AIDS can best be described as:

a. A disease that affects the immunocompromised host

b. A highly contagious disease, primarily causing malignancies

c. A disease that makes the individual vulnerable to illnesses that a healthy immune system may overcome

d. A disease transmitted only by sexual contact

3. In general, AIDS is characterized by:

a. Opportunistic infections and/or malignancies in a previously healthy individual

b. A reversed T helper/T suppressor ratio

c. Its male predominance

d. All of the above

4. Common general symptoms that should alert the patient to the possibility of AIDS are:

a. Diarrhea, sore throat, back pain, swollen ankles

b. Fever, 5-pound weight loss

c. Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more, persistent fever, recurrent diarrhea

d. Headache, vertigo, dizziness

5. High-risk groups, in descending order of number of AIDS cases, include:

a. Sexually active homosexual and bisexual men, IV drug abusers, hemophiliacs

b. IV drug abusers, Haitians, Africans

c. Sexually active homosexual men, bisexual women, IV drug abusers

d. Recent immigrants from South American, European, and Asian countries

6. Immunologic abnormalities commonly seen in AIDS are:

a. Pathognomonic of AIDS

b. Limited to dysfunctions of cellular immunity

c. Both cellular and humoral

d. Primarily due to the loss of cytotoxic T cells

7. Malignancies that have been associated with AIDS are:

a. Kaposi's sarcoma, peripheral T-cell lymphoma

b. Kaposi's sarcoma, lymphoma limited to the brain

c. Squamous cell carcinoma, colon cancer, Burkitt's lymphoma

d. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma, carcinoids

8. Current evidence suggests that AIDS is caused by:

a. Bacteria

b. Retrovirus

c. Immune system overload

d. Rotavirus

9. HTLV-III's major known antigens are:

a. P61 core protein, P41 envelope precursor

b. P24 core protein, P41 envelope protein

c. P24 envelope protein, P41 core protein

d. P61 envelope precursor, P41 core protein

10. HTLV-III has been isolated from:

a. Blood, cerebrospinal fluid, lymph nodes, cell-free plasma

b. Blood, CSF

c. Blood, semen, cervical secretions

d. All of the above

11. HTLV-III is believed to be transmitted by:

a. Blood, semen, tears

b. Blood, semen, saliva, tears

c. Blood, semen

d. Casual contact

12. Exposure to HTLV-III invariably results in:


b. Seroconversion

c. Carrier state

d. None of the above

13. Incubation time after HTLV-III exposure can be as long as:

a. 1 month

b. 1 year

c. 2 years

d. 5 or more years

14. AIDS-related complex is characterized by:

a. Meningismus, photophobia, headache

b. Lymphadenopathy, oral candidiasis, fever, weight loss

c. Kaposi's sarcoma, cryptosporidiosis

d. None of the above

15. Some agents that cause diarrhea and that are part of the AIDS case definition include:

a. Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile

b. Group D Streptococcus, rotavirus

c. Cryptosporidium, Shigella, Salmonella

d. Cryptosporidium, Isospora belli

16. Some of the frequent central nervous system symptoms seen in AIDS may be due to:

a. Increased intracranial pressure

b. Circulating HTLV-III since central nervous system cells are not affected

c. Cytomegalovirus, HTLV-III, and toxoplasmosis, among other causes

d. Cerebrovascular accident

17. In the treatment of pneumocystis pneumonia:

a. Pentamidine is the drug of choice

b. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole in a single dose is the drug of choice

c. Use of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is known to have caused allergic reactions including erythema multiforme

d. None of the above

18. Transfusion-related cases represent what proportion of total AIDS cases?

a. <1 per cent

b. 1-3 per cent

c. 4-8 per cent

d. 9-20 per cent

19. Regarding protection of the blood supply, which of the following statements is (are) true?

a. Voluntary high-risk donor deferral and HTLV-III screening have eliminated all known risk of transmission

b. Only female donors between 20 and 40 years of age should donate

c. Voluntary high-risk donor deferral and HTLV-III screening have greatly reduced transmission potential

d. All HTLV-III antibody-negative donors have never been exposed to the virus

20. HTLV-III antibody testing is currently recommended:

a. As an adjunct in diagnosis of AIDS

b. For screening of blood, semen, and organ donors

c. For diagnosis of AIDS in a patient with disseminated histoplasmosis

d. All of the above

21. The current HTLV-III antibody screening test methodology is:

a. Western blot

b. RIA


d. Slide test (agglutination)

22. In order for an HTLV-III antibody test to be called positive, it should be:

a. Confirmed by electrophoresis

b. Confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence

c. Repeatedly reactive by ELISA, followed by Western blot with or without indirect immunofluorescent testing

d. Confirmed by radioimmunoassay

23. A confirmed positive HTLV-III antibody test usually means:

a. A more than 50 per cent chance that AIDS will develop

b. Infection with the virus

c. Exposure to the virus less than a week ago

d. The patient has AIDS-related complex

24. A positive HTLV-III antibody test in the absence of an opportunistic infection listed in the AIDS case definition would be indicative of AIDS in a patient with:

a. Disseminated histoplasmosis

b. High grade B-cell or unknown phenotype non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

c. Kaposi's sarcoma in a patient over 60 years

d. All of the above

25. Individuals having regular, nonsexual, household contact with an AIDS patient face:

a. A high risk of seroconversion

b. Minimal or no risk of transmission

c. A higher risk of transmission in the first two months after diagnosis

d. A higher risk if the patient is symptomatic

26. For health care precaution purposes, individuals considered infected with HTLV-III usually include:

a. Patients with AIDS

b. Patients diagnosed as having illnesses other than AIDS, but which are thought to be caused by HTLV-III infection

c. Individuals with serologic or virologic evidence of infection but no clinical illness

d. All of the above

27. Precautions to prevent HTLV-III infection of health care workers on the job include:

a. Routine serologic testing of all patients for HTLV-III antibody

b. Disinfection of all disposable material

c. Routine blood-borne infection precautions

d. Gloves, gowns, and masks in the laboratory

28. Which of the following statements is (are) correct?

a. Routine screening of health care workers for hepatitis B virus is recommended; thus HTLV-III screening should also be recommended

b. The two diseases are both commonly transmitted through blood or blood products only

c. HBV and HTLV-III have the same associated risk of transmission

d. The risk of HBV transmission far exceeds that of HTLV-III in the same setting

29. For health care workers, the highest risk for HTLV-III transmission comes from:

a. Parenteral exposure

b. Mucosal exposure

c. Casual contact

d. Airborne transmission

30. In the health care setting, the most common place and type of exposure to HTLV-III-contaminated material are:

a. Laboratory, needlestick injury

b. Emergency room, mucosal exposure

c. Patient's room or ward, needlestick injury

d. ICU, contamination of skin lesions

31. For health care workers, the most common source of contamination with HTLV-III is:

a. Urine

b. Saliva, tears

c. Body fluids (non-blood)

d. Blood, serum

32. The risk of HTLV-III infection after a needlestick injury is:

a. <1 per cent

b. 1-3 per cent

c. 4-6 per cent

d. 7-30 per cent

33. What action should be taken after parenteral or mucosal exposure of a health care worker to blood or body fluids that could be contaminated with HTLV-III?

a. Both patient and health care worker should be immediately tested for HTLV-III antibody, regardless of infection risk

b. The patient should be immediately tested for HTLV-III antibody

c. Initially, the patient should be clinically assessed for likelihood of infection

d. Both patient and health care worker should be tested for HTLV-III antibody after six weeks

34. Which of the following groups has the highest percentage of accidental exposure to HTLV-III?

a. Laboratory personnel and phlebotomists

b. House officers

c. Nurses

d. Emergency medical technicians

35. According to the Centers for Disease Control, how many health care workers have contracted AIDS by caring for AIDS patients or handling or examining their specimens?

a. 0

b. More than 10

c. More than 20

d. More than 50

Answers to AIDS quiz

1. c

2. c

3. d

4. c

5. a

6. c

7. b

8. b

9. b

10. d

11. c

12. d

13. d

14. b

15. d

16. c

17. c

18. b

19. c

20. d

21. c

22. c

23. b

24. d

25. b

26. d

27. c

28. d

29. a

30. c

31. d

32. a

33. c

34. c

35. a

If you got 30 or more correct answers out of the 35, you are very knowledgeable about AIDS; 20 to 29 correct answers, you are in the average range for a laboratorian; below 20, review the subject and try again.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Velazquez, Francisco R.
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Aug 1, 1986
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