Research Article

Racial and other characteristics of human T cell leukemia/lymphoma (HTLV-I) and AIDS (HTLV-III) in Trinidad.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 27 April 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:1243
  1. C Bartholomew,
  2. W Charles,
  3. C Saxinger,
  4. W Blattner,
  5. M Robert-Guroff,
  6. C Raju,
  7. P Ratan,
  8. W Ince,
  9. D Quamina,
  10. K Basdeo-Maharaj


    Adult T cell leukaemia/lymphoma was first recognised as a clinical entity in southwest Japan. Subsequently the Caribbean has been found to be another area where the disease is endemic, and sporadic cases have been identified in different parts of the world. The human T cell leukaemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV-I) is causally related to adult T cell leukaemia/lymphoma. A subgroup of HTLV, designated HTLV-III, has recently been isolated from many patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and preAIDS, and there is now evidence that this variant is the primary cause of AIDS. This is the first report from Trinidad to describe 12 cases of adult T cell leukaemia/lymphoma and 14 of AIDS. All were in patients of African descent. No cases were seen in subjects of East Indian descent, who, like those of African descent, comprise as much as 40% of the population. West Indians of African descent may have increased susceptibility to infection with both HTLV-I and HTLV-III.