I WAS distressed by the Joseph Feldschuh and Doron Weber comments on the safety of the blood supply (Other Voices, Nov. 29). This type of scare tactic only revives unfounded old fears that AIDS is a major threat to recipients of blood products. Its sole purpose was to frighten people into irrational behavior.
Isn't it ironic that Feldschuh directs a personal blood storage bank that is suspiciously similar to the kind he recommends we all use to freeze our own blood for later use? This fact should not be overlooked. The public needs to know that the vast majority of such firms have already folded, and Feldschuh is likely touting his new book to stay in business. The reason these facilities have failed is that the informed public realizes their services are expensive, impractical and unnecessary. An accident victim on vacation who requires blood is not likely to have enough units stored in such a facility, or to have it properly thawed and delivered to a hospital in time to have any lifesaving benefit.
I hope that readers will see that Feldschuh/Weber employ hype instead of facts. By the authors' own admission, the numbers of Americans who have contracted AIDS from blood transfusions did so before 1985, the year a licensed AIDS antibody test became available. It is a published fact that since donor screening began in Baltimore, the number of positive HIV donors has decreased from 51 cases per 100,000 donors in 1985 to 13 per 100,000 in the first six months of 1988. These 13 were detected well before their blood was even considered for shipment to hospitals, and their donations were discarded.