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Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Drug data backs HIV-Aids link
AIDS drugs
The most convincing data comes from drug trials
By Toby Murcott of BBC Science

Mr Mbeki's support for the idea that Aids is not caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, revives an old debate.

US scientist Peter Duesberg sparked controversy with this idea in the 1980's, when he said Aids was the result of lifestyle factors such as malnutrition and drug abuse.
Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki has reiterated his doubts about HIV

Since then, however, the weight of scientific evidence that HIV causes Aids has become overwhelming.

The most convincing data is that drugs known to be effective against the virus also slow the progress of the disease, according to Anna Poppa, editor of Aids Treatment Update.

Proof

AZT, the first anti-HIV drug to be developed, significantly reduces the rate of transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies.

There are now other drugs that, when taken together, have dramatically increased the lifespan of people with HIV and Aids.

These data, and numerous other scientitific studies, mean that only a tiny minority of dissident scientists still question the link between HIV and Aids.

In fact, according to Anna Poppa, many researchers feel that renewing this debate is harming the search for better treatments and vaccines.

Any time taken to refute old discredited theories is time lost in the fight against the disease.

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See also:

20 Apr 00 | Africa
Mbeki's letter to world leaders
12 May 99 | Aids
Aids Africa's top killer
23 Nov 99 | Health
HIV hits 50 million
08 Jul 99 | Aids
Aids drugs factfile
04 Nov 99 | Aids
Aids up close
14 Jan 99 | Africa
Profile: Thabo Mbeki
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