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A study published in today's New England Journal of Medicine says that the risk of catching AIDS from a blood transfusion is only about half as great as previously estimated. The analysis, conducted by Dr. Eve Lackritz and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control, shows only about two dozen of the 12 million pints of blood used in transfusions each year are now infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Lackritz's team examined 9 million blood donations in 1992 and 1993. The CDC now estimates that the risk that a patient will contract HIV from donated blood is between one in 83,000 and one in 122,000.