A new method based on the reported incubation period of transfusion-associated AIDS was used to estimate the number of AIDS cases likely to arise in the USA among those infected before 1986. Between 1986 and 1991 102 000 new cases are projected, with a total cumulative incidence of 135 000 AIDS cases. These estimates do not account for new infections after 1985 nor very long incubation periods and are thus the smallest numbers to be expected. Even if new infections can be effectively prevented, the epidemic will be five times larger than the number of cases observed so far.
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