The initiative was approved by the NHLBI AIDS Ad Hoc Working Group and given concept clearance by the September 1993 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council. The initiative was released in January 1994.
Patient enrollment started in August 1995. Patients scheduled for transfusion were entered into the study at the time of their first transfusion and randomized to receive leukopoor red cells filtered within 24 hours of collection or unmanipulated blood components. Patients received blood as per their treatment arm as needed for one or two years. Patients were stratified to those with CD4 counts below 50 /MM3 (most patients) and those with CD4 counts above that level. Primary endpoints were overall survival and a change in HIV viremia after the 1st transfusion. The secondary endpoint was the occurrence of a new AIDS-defining complication. A substudy looked at donor lymphocytes in the immunosuppressed recipients to help determine why AIDS patients don't seem to get post-transfusion graft-vs-host disease. The patient recruitment time was extended for one year because of low accrual. With new drugs, especially protease inhibitors, the proportion of patients needing transfusion has decreased. The patients are less severely ill and their disease produces less anemia. Furthermore, the new drugs don't have anemia as a side effect. The trial ended in January, 2000.