Letter: The Sunday Times's rejection of the connection between HIV and Aids

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was interested to read (Letters, 30 June) the five reasons why John Witherow considers that HIV infection does not lead to Aids. But there are other possible explanations for the statements he makes.

1. The fact that the projections made for Aids in the 1980s did not come true could at least partially be due to the effective education campaigns carried out by the UK government as well as by voluntary organisations such as Avert.

2. The Concorde trials have not shown that AZT causes harm to people who are HIV positive. The trials have actually shown that there is no benefit to people who are HIV positive in taking AZT sooner rather than later.

3. There are many serious diseases in Africa, of which TB is clearly one. But it is also clear that a new disease has recently appeared. A recent study in Uganda found that those infected with HIV were 60 times more likely to die within two years that those who were uninfected.

4. Scientifically, there are few doubts about the validity and accuracy of the HIV test.

5. Ten years ago it was clearly shown through epidemiological studies that Aids was caused by a transmittable agent and that amyl nitrate was not the cause of Aids.

Scientific debate about Aids is to be welcomed, but the querying of the link between HIV and Aids could have devastatingly tragic consequences if it goes on too long. Some people may believe the view put forward by the Sunday Times, and as a result some of them will become infected with HIV in the mistaken belief that it will do them no harm. In 10 years' time, long after the Sunday Times has moved on to other subjects, they will be the ones who will be dying.

Yours faithfully,



Aids Education & Research Trust

Horsham, West Sussex