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Myths of HIV and AIDS

Myth 1: AIDS is a Distinct Disease
There are several dramatically different definitions of AIDS, depending upon your location and age. In Third World countries AIDS can be diagnosed from fever, diarrhoea and a persistent cough lasting more than a month, with no HIV test required.[32] A laboratory measurement (abnormal CD4 immune cell counts), along with a positive HIV test result, but with no signs of illness, accounts for more than half the diagnoses in the US[15], but is not accepted as a diagnosis for children under 14, or for anyone in Canada[14]. AIDS may also be diagnosed in Western countries by one of about 30 different cancers and infections (usually, but not always, with a positive HIV test result required).
Myth 2: HIV Antibody Tests are Accurate
The tests used to determine whether someone is HIV positive are based upon the detection of antibodies. False positives may be recorded due to laboratory errors, vaccinations against other diseases or current or past diseases[10]. Even pregnancy makes a false positive test more likely. Unfortunately, the only way to check a positive test is with more tests[4],[7]. Indeterminate test results may be interpreted as positive in a person believed to be at high risk of AIDS, and negative in others[7].
Myth 3: Viral Load Tests Count Virus Particles in the Blood
A test used to monitor HIV infections is called “Viral Load”.[24] It magnifies a portion of genetic material that is believed to be from HIV. However, since HIV has never been purified it is impossible to know what its genetic material is and, even if it was known, only a fragment of it is used as the probe, meaning that cross reactions with other viruses are likely. The virus “load” that is produced is just a mathematical calculation, not a particle count, and cannot determine what proportion, if any, of the genetic material detected reflects infectious virus particles. Viral load may be measured in people who are antibody negative and considered uninfected[27], or sometimes, under similar circumstances, considered infected[31].
Myth 4: HIV is Transmitted During Sex
The first AIDS cases were found in highly sexually active gay men, but they were also heavy drug users. One study showed that 97% of early AIDS patients admitted to the use of nitrite inhalants, drugs that are immune suppressive and carcinogenic[13]. All other risk groups are exposed to toxic or immune-suppressive substances (injected drugs, blood products from other people, or toxic HIV drugs). On the other hand, another study showed that 19 out of 21 wives of HIV positive hemophiliacs were HIV negative, and none had signs of sickness[17].
Myth 5: Clean Needles Stop HIV Transmission in Drug Users
A study of IV drug users in Montreal showed that users of needle exchange programs were more than ten times as likely to be HIV positive than non-users[3]! A study of female prostitutes showed that those taking drugs only intravenously were less likely to be HIV positive (46%) than those exclusively taking cocaine in non-intravenous ways (84%)[29]. The infectious theory of AIDS cannot explain these anomalies.
Myth 6: Hit Hard, Hit Early is the Most Effective Treatment Strategy
Many AIDS doctors recommend starting HIV medications before symptoms arise. This philosophy continued even after the Concorde study of the benchmark AIDS drug AZT showed that early treatment was not beneficial, and that many more people died while taking the drug than on placebo[6]. HIV drugs interfere with normal workings of the human body, and it is not clear that people can survive on them for many years. AZT, for example, has been associated with an almost 50:50 chance of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a normally fatal blood cancer) after 3 years[25]. On the other hand, it takes an average of 10 years between becoming HIV positive and starting to develop AIDS without therapy[21].
Myth 7: New AIDS Drugs are Saving Lives
A new generation of AIDS drugs, Protease Inhibitors, first became available late in 1995 and are credited with saving many lives. However, the AIDS death rate was already declining in 1994, the definition of AIDS in the US had been expanded to include people with no visible illness in 1993[15], and the annualized death rate of people diagnosed in 1997 was higher than in those diagnosed in 1995 and 1996. Protease inhibitors have been associated with serious health problems, including diarrhoea, nausea, dangerously high cholesterol levels, diabetes and heart disease[5].
Myth 8: Women are the Fastest Growing Group of AIDS Victims
This claim is based on the percentage of new AIDS cases among women rising (from 7% in 1993 in Canada to 14% in 1997, for example). Yet, the actual number of AIDS cases among women dropped from 124 in Canada in 1993 to only 39 in 1997[14]. Similarly in the US, the percentage of AIDS cases in women rose from 16% in 1993 to 19% in 1997, while the actual number of female cases dropped from 16,824 to 13,105[15]. The use of percentages creates the illusion of a growing epidemic among women.
Myth 9: AIDS is a Growing Risk for Children
The risk of AIDS among Canada’s approximately 6 million children is minuscule. There were only 13 new cases in 1995, dropping to 5 in 1997[14]. Similarly, the number of AIDS cases among the almost 60 million children in the US was only 937 in 1992, dropping to 167 in 1997[15]. Compare this with a risk of dying at birth of about 6 for every 1,000 live births.
Myth 10: HIV+ Pregnant Women should take Drugs to Prevent Transmission to Babies
Women pass many different antibodies to their children through the placenta and, after birth, through breast-feeding[26]. These antibodies are protective, and partially account for the better health of breast-fed babies. Naturally, HIV antibodies may also be transmitted, and it is impossible to distinguish these antibodies from those due to HIV infection in the baby. Yet AZT, the drug prescribed to reduce the risk of infecting the baby (at most about 25%) can cross the placenta[11] and can cause anemia[8], bone marrow damage[22], cancer[23] and birth defects[18], as well as other serious health problems in both mothers and their babies[19]. These health problems will likely be blamed on HIV, and not the therapy.

Mysteries of HIV and AIDS

Mystery 1: Paramedics and Surgeons are Immune from HIV Infection
Not one paramedic, emergency medical technician or surgeon in the US has contracted AIDS from on-the-job exposure[15]. Out of 633,000 total US AIDS cases through 1997 only 25 are thought to be occupationally acquired[15]. In Canada, out of 15,528 AIDS cases through 1997, only 1 is reported as occupationally acquired[14], based on circumstantial evidence[1]. Pretty strange for a supposedly blood-borne virus!
Mystery 2: HIV Positive Animals Don’t Get AIDS
After years of trying it has proved virtually impossible to get Chimpanzees transfused with HIV-positive human blood to become sick with any AIDS diseases. Yet their genes are about 98% the same as humans. In other studies, dogs[30] and inbred mice[16] were positive for one or more HIV antibodies, yet had never been infected!
Mystery 3: HIV Destroys While Dormant
The average latency period for HIV is estimated at 8-16 years[21]. During this time HIV is supposedly dormant (in that no symptoms of the disease exist), yet somehow destroying the immune system of the infected person. Supposedly the virus emerges after years of dormancy and the person quickly gets sick and dies. A rough calculation shows that if a person was infected today with one HIV particle, and it, and all its offspring lived only a day, and produced only two others before dying, there would still be a billion HIV particles in a month. In two months the virus particles would occupy a liter (quart) bottle, and in three months hundreds of olympic size swimming pools.
Mystery 4: Some HIV Positive People Never Get AIDS Diseases
A number of people, known as Long Term Non-Progressors, have been HIV positive for over a decade, have not taken HIV therapy, yet have still not got sick with AIDS[20]. These people, along with the long latency period in others, are living evidence that something apart from HIV is needed to make people get sick with AIDS.
Mystery 5: Some People with AIDS Diseases are HIV Negative
Some people with AIDS are not HIV positive. Thousands of cases of HIV negative people with diseases that would qualify as AIDS if they had a positive HIV test have been documented[9]. Because the definition of AIDS requires a positive HIV test, these cases have been given the name Idiopathic CD4 Lymphocytopenia, and are excluded from AIDS tracking and research.
Mystery 6: AIDS rates are falling, even where STD rates are rising
In Western countries the annual rate of new AIDS cases dropped dramatically between 1993 (78,164 cases) and 1997 (30,986 cases)[15] and from 1,735 to 276 in Canada[14]. Over the same time period, in San Francisco, one of the cities hardest hit with AIDS, a sharp rise in cases of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis occurred[28]. If HIV/AIDS is also sexually transmitted, why is it not following the same pattern?
Mystery 7: Kaposi’s Sarcoma Prefers Homosexual Men
One of two diseases that triggered the AIDS era was Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a form of skin cancer that had formerly been found only on the lower extremities of older men. Why was it suddenly found in the face, chest and lungs of young homosexual men? Why so rarely in IV drug users, hemophiliacs and other AIDS victims? If it is caused by HIV, it should be found in all risk groups. One study showed that 97% of homosexual men with Kaposi’s Sarcoma were also users of carcinogenic and immunosuppressive nitrite inhalants[13].
Mystery 8: AIDS Affects Rich Countries More than the Poor
Why does AIDS attack people in the United States (1 out of 9,000 in 1997[15]) over ten times more than in Canada (1 out of 100,000[14]) and over one hundred times more than in poverty stricken India (1 out of every million[2])?
Mystery 9: Billions in Research Dollar$, but still no Photographs
The first microscope photographs of purified HIV would make any scientist famous. Yet, although billions of dollars have been spent on HIV and AIDS research, nobody has ever photographed purified HIV. Why? Is it possible that nobody has ever really purified it? The first electron micrographs of what had previously been considered to be purified HIV, showed that they consisted mostly of cellular debris[12].


  1. A case of HIV Infection Possibly Transmitted in an Occupational Setting - Ontario. Canada Communicable Disease Report. 1992; 18: 102-3.
  2. Bagla P. India Prepares to Join U.S., World Teams. Science. 1998 Nov 20; 282: 1394.
  3. Bruneau et al. High Rates of HIV Infection among Injection Drug Users Participating in Needle Exchange Programs in Montreal, Am J Epid. 1997, 146 (12): 994-1002.
  4. Burke et al. Measurement of the false positive rate in a screening program for human immunodeficiency virus infections. NEJM. 1988; 319(15): 961-4.
  5. Carr A, Cooper DA. Gap between biology and reality in AIDS. Lancet. 1998 Dec 19; 352(S5): 16.
  6. Concorde: MRC/ANRS randomised double-blind controlled trial of immediate and deferred zidovudine in symptom-free HIV infection. Lancet. April 9, 1994; 343: 871-881.
  7. Cordes R, Ryan M. Pitfalls in HIV testing. Postgraduate Medicine. 1995; 98: 177.
  8. Costello C. Haematological abnormalities in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 1988; 41: 711-715.
  9. Duesberg PH. The HIV Gap in National AIDS Statistics. Bio/Technology. 1993; 11
  10. Factors Known to Cause False-Positive HIV Antibody Test Results. Continuum; 4(3): 5. 64 references to conditions that can cause false-positive HIV test results.
  11. Gillet et al. Preliminary study on the transport of AZT (Retrovir-zidovudine) through the placenta. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod. 1990; 19(2): 177-180.
  12. Gluschankof et al. Cell membrane vesicles are a major contaminant of gradient-enriched human immunodeficiency virus type-1 preparations. Virology. 1997; 230(1): 125-133.
  13. Haverkos et al. Disease manifestation among homosexual men with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: A possible role of nitrites in Kaposi's sarcoma. Sex Transm Dis. 1985; 12: 203-8.
  14. HIV and AIDS in Canada: Surveillance Report to December 31, 1997. Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Health Canada, 1998. hwcweb.hwc.ca/hpb/lcdc/publicat/aids
  15. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1998. www.cdc.gov/nchstp/hiv_aids/stats/hasrlink.htm
  16. Kion TA, Hoffmann GW. Anti-HIV and anti-anti-MHC antibodies in alloimmune and autoimmune mice. Science. 1991; 253: 1138-40.
  17. Kreiss JK, Kitchen LW, Prince HE et al. Antibody to human T-lymphotropic virus type III in wives of hemophiliacs. Ann Intern Med. 1985; 102: 623-6.
  18. Kumar et al. Zidovudine Use in Pregnancy: A Report on 104 Cases and the Occurrence of Birth Defects. J Acquir Immun Defic Syndr. 1994; 7: 1034-1039.
  19. Lorenzi et al. Antiretroviral therapies in pregnancy: maternal fetal and neonatal effects. AIDS. 1998; 12: F241-247.
  20. Muñoz et al. Long-term survivors with HIV-1 infection. J Acq Imm Def Synd & Hum Retrovir. 1995; 8(5): 496-505.
  21. Muñoz et al. The incubation period of AIDS. AIDS. 1997; Vol 11 (suppl A): S69-76.
  22. Mir N, Costello C. Zidovudine and Bone Marrow. Lancet. 1988 Nov 19; 1195-6.
  23. Olivero et al. AZT is a Genotoxic Transplacental Carcinogen in Animal Models. J Acquir Immun Defic Syndr Hum Retro. 1997; 14(4): A29.
  24. Philpott P, Johnson C. Viral Load of Crap. Reappraising AIDS. October 1996; www.virusmyth.com/aids/data/chjppcrap.htm
  25. Pluda et al. Development of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in a Cohort of Patients with Severe HIV Infection on Long-Term Antiretroviral Therapy, Ann Int Med. 1990, 113: 276-282.
  26. Pryor K, Pryor G. Nursing Your Baby. Pocket Books. 1991.
  27. Rich JD et al. Misdiagnosis of HIV Infection by HIV-1 Plasma Viral Load Testing: A Case Series. Ann Int Med. 130:37-39.
  28. Russell S. Gonorrhea Cases Rise Among Gays: S.F. report says chlamydia widespread among teens. San Francisco Chronicle. 1998 Oct 2.
  29. Sterk C. Cocaine and HIV seropositivity. Lancet. 1988 May 7; 1052-3.
  30. Strandstrom et al. Studies with canine sera that contain antibodies which recognize human immunodeficiency virus structural proteins. Cancer Res. 1990 Sep 1; 50(17 Suppl): 56285-56305.
  31. Sullivan et al. Persistently negative HIV-1 antibody enzyme immunoassay screening results for patients with HIV-1 infection and AIDS. AIDS. 1999 Jan 14; 13: 89-96.
  32. WHO case definitions for AIDS surveillance in adults and adolescents. WER. 1994 Sep; 69: 273-80.

For more information...

A vast storehouse of scientific papers, articles and other information on AIDS dissident view. Rethinking AIDS
Information on AIDS and the law. What to do when the law acts as if HIV=AIDS was a fact, and not a theory with many flaws. AIDS and HIV Law
Alive & Well. The name, and slogan, of a Los Angeles organization dedicated to promoting free thinking about HIV and AIDS, led by well known activist Christine Maggiore. www.aliveandwell.org
HEAL. One of the oldest and best known AIDS dissident organizations. Many people have discovered alternatives, and their own path to health by attending its meetings. HEAL Links
Dr. Peter Duesberg is a retrovirologist who sacrificed his career because he refused to stop questioning the infectious theory of AIDS. www.duesberg.com
Mothering magazine has published several articles questioning why HIV+ pregnant women should be prescribed toxic drugs. www.mothering.com
So what if we all sheath ourselves in latex because of fear of HIV? How could this be a problem? Well, it can be a life-threatening problem if you are one of the millions who has developed an allergy, often because of over-exposure in a medical setting. Latex Allergy Links
CBC Radio's Ideas program has produced several articles that have questioned various aspects of the standard HIV and AIDS theories. Transcripts of their programs are available. CBC Ideas AIDS Page
Robert Gallo: Hero or Fraudster? Read about the US congressional investigation into his work, and make up your own mind. Walter W. Stewart's Site on Scientific Misconduct
WHO: For establishment views on the global HIV/AIDS 'epidemic'. Consider, however, that AIDS in Africa is defined completely differently than AIDS in America. Yet, you will not find a definition of AIDS on this site! WHO publications: AIDS
A chronicling of some of the history of the hysteria of HIV and AIDS. NY Times AIDS Section
US HIV/AIDS statistics are available here. www.cdc.gov
Canadian HIV/AIDS statistics are available here. Laboratory Centres for Disease Control (LCDC Canada)

Myths & Mysteries of HIV & AIDS Version 1.3, July 12, 1999.