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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Feb 15;88(4):1575-9.

AIDS epidemiology: inconsistencies with human immunodeficiency virus and with infectious disease.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


The newly defined syndrome AIDS includes 25 unrelated parasitic, neoplastic, and noninfectious indicator diseases. Based on epidemiological correlations, the syndrome is thought to be due to a new, sexually or parenterally transmitted retrovirus termed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The following epidemiological data conflict with this hypothesis. (i) Noncorrelations exist between HIV and AIDS; for example, the AIDS risks of infected subjects vary greater than 10-fold with their gender or country. Abnormal health risks that are never controlled as independent AIDS causes by AIDS statistics, such as drug addiction and hemophilia, correlate directly with an abnormal incidence of AIDS diseases. Above all, the AIDS diseases occur in all risk groups in the absence of HIV. (ii) American AIDS is incompatible with infectious disease, because it is almost exclusively restricted to males (91%), because if it occurs, then only on average 10 years after transfusion of HIV, because specific AIDS diseases are not transmissible among different risk groups, and because unlike a new infectious disease, AIDS has not spread exponentially since the AIDS test was established and AIDS received its current definition in 1987. (iii) Epidemiological evidence indicates that HIV is a long-established, perinatally transmitted retrovirus. HIV acts as a marker for American AIDS risks, because it is rare and not transmissible by horizontal contacts other than frequent transfusions, intravenous drugs, and repeated or promiscuous sex. It is concluded that American AIDS is not infectious, and suggested that unidentified, mostly noninfectious pathogens cause AIDS.

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