Since 1985, over 1,800,000 donations have been screened by the West Midlands Regional Blood Transfusion Service for antibody to HIV. Twelve regular donors gave three or more donations that were alternatingly positive and negative in the screening test, but not confirmed to be HIV positive by supplementary testing. Extensive investigation of six of these donors, including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), failed to confirm HIV infection. The donors were reassured but, nevertheless, retired to comply with the guidelines of the National Blood Transfusion Service. These findings indicate that, for UK donors, ambiguous serological findings are unlikely to reflect HIV infection. On the rare occasions where serological results are particularly ambiguous, PCR testing of donors' blood may be helpful.
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