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updated 1/17/2011 5:40:31 PM ET 2011-01-17T22:40:31

The rare transmission of HIV through transplanted organs to four Chicago-area patients made headlines in 2007.

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A new study says it also caused some U.S. transplant surgeons to limit their use of organs from high-risk donors such as gay men.

The study's senior author says the response is based more on fear of lawsuits than on science.

Dr. Dorry Segev of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore says the risk of death while waiting for a transplant is far higher for many patients than the risk associated with organs from high-risk donors.

The survey of 422 transplant surgeons found about a third made changes following the 2007 events. Of those, 42 percent decreased their use of high-risk donors.

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The findings appear in Monday's Archives of Surgery.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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