Federal health officials last week recommended testing all sperm donors for AIDS infections -- and testing donated sperm again six months later -- to ensure that the virus is not spread in artificial inseminations.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control said doctors performing artificial inseminations should use only sperm that shows no sign of the AIDS virus, either at the time of donation or in a follow-up test on the frozen sperm six months later. The donated semen "should be used only if both of the tests are negative," the CDC said.

The American Fertility Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have already accepted such recommendations.

In its weekly report, the CDC also repeated its recommendation that donors of organs, tissues and semen should be tested for AIDS infection.

The Public Health Service in 1985 first recommended AIDS testing of sperm, organ and tissue donors; that year, it was shown that donated sperm could transmit AIDS infections.

AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is caused by a virus that damages the body's immune system, leaving victims susceptible to infections and cancer. It is spread most often through sexual contact, needles or syringes shared by drug users, infected blood or blood products, and from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

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