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HIV or HTLV-III?

MICHAEL M. JACOBS
Arch Surg. 1987;122(8):959. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400200109031.
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To the Editor.—I have noticed a curious editorial feature of articles in the Archives that refer to the retrovirus implicated as the causal agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The article by Drs Nugent and O'Connell1 referred to the AIDS virus as human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III). The use of the term HTLV-III slights the contributions of other researchers involved in the initial studies of the causative agent of AIDS and is a potential source of confusion for the student and professional of the health sciences reading the past and current literature on AIDS.

A current list of acronyms designating the causative agent of AIDS includes HTLV-III, lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), and AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV). Frequently, moreover, the cumbersome term HTLV-III/LAV is used. Why not unify academic and clinical specialists and report on AIDS with one acronym? It was in this spirit that, in May 1986, a

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