About AIDS

Durban Declaration Affirms HIV-AIDS Relationship

Because those attending the 13th International AIDS Conference, July 9-14 in Durban, South Africa, wished to not be unnecessarily distracted by disruptive denialists, they published a thesis outlining the relationship of HIV to AIDS. Appearing in the prestigious journal Nature, the Durban Declaration represents a definitive affirmation by more than 5,000 of the world's leading scientists and doctors, including 11 Nobel Prize laureates. An excerpt follows, slightly edited for space:

"The evidence that AIDS is caused by HIV ... is clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous, meeting the highest standards of science. The data fulfill exactly the same criteria as for other viral diseases, such as polio, measles and smallpox:

• Patients with AIDS, regardless of where they live, are infected with HIV;

• If not treated, most people with HIV infection show signs of AIDS within 5-10 years. HIV infection is identified [by] tests ... as reliable as any used for detecting other virus infections;

• People who receive HIV-contaminated blood or blood products develop AIDS, whereas those who receive untainted ... blood do not;

• (Babies) who develop AIDS are born to HIV-infected mothers ...;

• HIV infects the exact type of white blood cell ... that becomes depleted in people with AIDS;

• Drugs that block HIV replication (and) reduce viral load ... delay progression to AIDS. Treatment has reduced AIDS mortality by more than 80%;

• HIV causes AIDS."

"It is unfortunate that a few vocal people continue to deny the evidence. This position will cost countless lives ... Research, not myths, will lead to [better treatments] and, it is hoped, a vaccine."

To read the entire document, which footnotes numerous scientific sources, please see the July 6 issue of the journal Nature; or go to http://www.durbandeclaration.org/.

A note clarifying last week's column exploring a typical denialist's faulty claims: His statements were sent to me directly by the individual via e-mail; they were not supplied by the Chronicle.

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