Publicly funded AIDS prevention programs tend to focus on protecting the blood supply rather than educating such high-risk groups as homosexual men and intravenous drug users, a California study reports.

For example, Sacramento County, Calif., spent nearly three times as much last year on testing to prevent spread of the AIDS virus through blood transfusions as on its entire budget for AIDS education and prevention programs.

The Sacramento Blood Foundation spent $205,845 last year to screen out nine units of donated blood that tested positive for the AIDS virus. Identifying those nine tainted units prevented an estimated 15 transmissions of human immunodeficiency virus at a cost of $13,723 for each prevention.

By contrast, the budget for AIDS prevention and education in Sacramento County, where 583 HIV transmissions were reported last year, was $87,920, about $150 for every case that might have been prevented by an educational campaign, the researchers said.

The analysis by the University of California at Davis, the Sacramento Blood Center, the Sacramento AIDS Foundation and others was reported at the AIDS conference.

Nigerians Protest Virus Report Nigerian officials yesterday protested reports, including one in The Washington Post Tuesday, that a new AIDS-related virus was found in Nigerian patients.

Dr. E.M. Essien, head of the Nigerian delegation to the conference, said the patients in question were not AIDS sufferers but persons who tested positive once for the AIDS virus and later were found to be uninfected.

Essien said no new virus has been found in Nigeria. Dr. Samuel Adenyi-Jones of the National Institutes of Health said that although the Nigerian patients showed signs that they may carry a new virus, no such virus has been isolated.

Essien also said the Nigerian health minister announced recently the first confirmed cases of AIDS in that country. Five AIDS cases were confirmed and six other persons were confirmed infected, of a sample of nearly 10,500 blood samples collected in the West African nation. Women Seeking Larger Role Women involved in AIDS care and research met last night and approved a letter complaining of underrepresentation at the conference and listing demands to be presented at a business meeting today.

The letter was drafted at a meeting of about 70 women Monday and circulated among female delegates. It asks that more women be included on steering committees for future conferences, for more sessions on issues of concern to them and for child-care facilities. A spokesman said the women are concerned about being regarded as "no more than AIDS vectors" -- routes of transmission. -- Don Colburn, Sandy Rovner, Sandra G. Boodman and Philip J. Hilts