The recipient of a tissue graft from a 1985 organ donor infected with AIDS has tested negative for the virus and represents a "good sign" for others who received freeze-dried, alcohol-treated tissue, officials said.

Officials with LifeNet Transplant Services said they believe tissues that were treated in such a manner are not likely to transmit the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, which causes AIDS. "That's a very good sign," said LifeNet spokesman Doug Wilson told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.The donor, who was shot during a 1985 robbery, did not know he was infected with the virus and tested negative at least twice. But three patients who received untreated tissue grafts have tested positive for HIV infection, and three recipients of organs taken from the donor have died from AIDS.

Of the 52 tissue grafts taken from the donor and used in patients, 44 were freeze-dried and treated with alcohol or radiation.