HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS - A new perspective.
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Donner Laboratory, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
A recent study by Chigwedere et al., "Estimating the lost benefits of antiretroviral drug use in South Africa", claims that during the period from 2000 to 2005 about 330,000 South African AIDS-deaths were caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) per year that could have been prevented by available anti-HIV drugs. The study blamed those who question the hypothesis that HIV is the cause of AIDS, particularly former South African President Thabo Mbeki and one of us, for not preventing these deaths by anti-HIV treatments such as the DNA chain-terminator AZT and the HIV DNA inhibitor Nevirapine. Here we ask, (1) What evidence exists for the huge losses of South African lives from HIV claimed by the Chigwedere study? (2) What evidence exists that South Africans would have benefited from anti-HIV drugs? We found that vital statistics from South Africa reported only 1 "HIV-death" per 1000 HIV antibody-positives per year (or 12,000 per 12 million HIV antibody-positives) between 2000 and 2005, whereas Chigwedere et al. estimated losses of around 330,000 lives from HIV per year. Moreover, the US Census Bureau and South Africa reported that the South African population had increased by 3 million during the period from 2000 to 2005 instead of suffering losses, growing from 44.5 to 47.5 million, even though 25% to 30% were positive for antibodies against HIV. A similar discrepancy was found between claims for a reportedly devastating HIV epidemic in Uganda and a simultaneous massive growth of the Ugandan population. Likewise, the total Sub-Saharan population doubled from 400 millions in 1980 to 800 millions in 2007 during the African HIV epidemics. We conclude that the claims that HIV has caused huge losses of African lives are unconfirmed and that HIV is not sufficient or even necessary to cause the previously known diseases, now called AIDS in the presence of antibody against HIV. Further we call into question the claim that HIV antibody-positives would benefit from anti-HIV drugs, because these drugs are inevitably toxic and because there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS.
PMID: 19619953 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]