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CMV+ in HIV- persons

Feb 11, 1997

Rick, I recently donated blood again and found out that my CMV status was + (written at the back of my form). Does this mean that I currently have the virus? If so, why do they allow me to give blood again? Also, should a healthy person be concerned with CMV? Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

CMV is a very common infection. Most people who have this virus don't even know it. If you tested CMV positive, it indicates you are infected. As long as you have a normal functioning immune system, this will usually not cause any symptoms or problems.

The blood supply is normally not checked for CMV, since it would be very unusual to get infected through a transfusion in persons with normal immune systems. A physician will sometimes specially order a CMV test for blood going to a person with a damaged immune system. This is to ensure that the person is at no risk for CMV at all, since CMV is very dangerous in persons with damaged immune systems. In the vast majority of people however, this virus is harmless, as long as the immune system is functioning properly.

Testing positive for CMV will not prevent you from donating blood in the future. For more information about CMV, go to the question "Effects of CMV" dated October 28, 1996. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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