WHO activities for the prevention and control of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS): report by the Director-General.
This report assesses the current situation with regared to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), describes activities being carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), and indicates the course of future action to understand and control AIDS, particularly the assurance of safe blood and blood products. The WHO program on AIDS has the following components: 1) the exchange of information and the participation of Member States and WHO collaborating centers on AIDS in data collection; 2) the preparation and distribution of guidelines, manuals, and educational materials for the public; 3) the assessment of commercially available lymphadenopathy-associated virus/human T-lymphotropic virus type III (LAV/HTLV-III) antibody test kits, development of a simple and inexpensive test for field application, and establishment of WHO reference reagents; 4) cooperation with Member States in the development of national programs and actions for the containment of LAV/HTLV-III infection; 5) advice to Member States on the provision of safe blood and blood products; and 6) coordination of research, particularly on a) the development of therapeutic agents and vaccines and b) simian retroviruses. Recommendations to increase the safety of blood and blood products include education of the public and donors about AIDS, exclusion of donors from high-risk groups, and avoidance of nonessential use of blood and blood products. Where feasible, it is recommended that donors should be screened for LAV/HTLV-III antibody. All sera reactive in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) should be tested in another system. WHO can play a major role in coordinating collaborative action in the area of vaccine development and antiviral agents, as well as serving as a clearing house for information.