FACT #3: HIV Causes AIDS

Posted on November 29, 2011


It came to my attention (via a friend’s Facebook status) that the Foo Fighters played in Perth last night.  While I admit to having a crush on Dave Grohl at the age of 12, I can’t say I’m a fan of their music anymore.  Even worse than their music is their outrageous claim that HIV does not cause AIDS (AIDS denialism) and their support for organizations such as Alive and Well.  AIDS denialists believe that recreational drugs, antivirals or adverse environmental factors such as malnutrition cause AIDS.[1]


Not surprisingly, AIDS denialism has been rejected by the scientific community.  Several observations supporting HIV as the cause of AIDS have been documented.[1]  For example:

  • Epidemiological studies have reported the presence of HIV or HIV antibodies in over 95% of AIDS patients throughout the world.
  • Multiple HIV isolates have been cultured from AIDS patients.
  • Examples of transmission pathogenesis in humans and animals have provided evidence for the causative association of HIV and AIDS.

AIDS denialism has had a significant political and social impact, particularly in South Africa where former President Thabo Mbeki’s support for AIDS denialism resulted in the government’s appalling response to the country’s AIDS epidemic.  From a public health perspective, AIDS denialism is extremely dangerous as it discourages people from getting tested and seeking out appropriate care and treatment.

Given that the Durban Declaration was signed over 10 years ago, let’s hope AIDS denialism ends (or at least remains a ridiculous conspiracy theory propagated through the internet).



1. Duesberg P, Koehnlein C, Rasnick D. The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition. Journal of Biosciences. 2003;28:383–412

2. O’Brien SJ, Goedert JJ. HIV causes AIDS: Koch’s postulates fulfilled. Current Opinion in Immunology. 1996;8:613-618.