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Dr Costa Gazi, Cecilia and Makiwane Hospital
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"In my professional opinion HIV has not been adequately proven to be the cause of AIDS"
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Saturday, 1 July, 2000, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
HIV and Aids 'definitely linked'
Aids - Africa
Aids has killed 11m people in Africa
By Toby Murcott of BBC Science

Leading doctors and scientists from all over the world have signed a declaration reasserting their conviction that the HIV virus is the cause of Aids.

In a document to be published in the scientific journal, Nature, 5,000 doctors from 50 countries say the evidence is clear-cut and unambiguous.

We've basically had enough and we want to go on the record and say look HIV is the cause of Aids and don't think it's anything other

Professor Simon Wain-Hobson
They refute what they call revisionist theories linking Aids to poor diet and drug addiction.

The statement is being seen as an attempt to halt a growing controversy over the disease sparked by the South African President, Thabo Mbeki.


HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, was discovered 17 years ago and is believed by the vast majority of scientists to be the cause of Aids.

However, a small group of researchers, most notably the US biologist Peter Duesburg, believe that Aids is caused by factors such as drug addiction and diet and has nothing to do with HIV.

Aids drugs
Drugs can alleviate the symptoms of Aids
This idea was recently taken up by President Mbeki who established a committee to investigate the relationship between Aids and HIV.

Many highly respected biologists have condemned this move and maintain that HIV is the cause of Aids. To support this view, they have produced this declaration.

Danger of 'misinformation'

"We're all terribly afraid that this misinformation could have a tremendous effect because it will slow down the approach to handling of HIV and Aids and therefore will only increase the number of people that are going to be affected," said leading Aids researcher Professor Simon Wain-Hobson from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, one of the signatories.

"We've basically had enough and we want to go on the record and say look HIV is the cause of Aids and don't think it's anything other."

The declaration contains a summary of the evidence showing the link between HIV and Aids, as well as other facts about the spread of the disease and and its current treatment.

The declaration also maintains that controlling the spread of HIV is the first step towards overcoming Aids.

The South African report into the link between HIV and Aids is expected to be published early next week.

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See also:

06 May 00 | Africa
South Africa tackles Aids
12 May 99 | Aids
Aids Africa's top killer
14 Jan 99 | Africa
Profile: Thabo Mbeki
26 May 00 | Health
Aids sceptics 'are wrong'
17 Apr 00 | Panorama
The Dying Game April 17 2000
08 Jul 99 | Aids
Aids drugs factfile
04 Nov 99 | Aids
Aids up close
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