H.I.V. causes AIDS. This is not a controversial claim but an established fact, based on more than 20 years of solid science. It is as certain as the descent of
humans from apes and the falling of dropped objects to the ground.
So why reiterate the obvious? Because lately, a bizarre theory [AIDS denialism] has gained ground - one that claims that H.I.V. is harmless, and that the antiretroviral drugs that
curb the growth of the virus cause rather than treat AIDS. Such talk sounds to most of us like quackery, but the theory has emerged as a genuine menace to public
health in the United States and, particularly, in South Africa.
AIDS denialism has been around since the mid-80s. For more on the history of AIDS denialism, see the 1999 article by
Bruce Mirken, entitled: Holocaust Denial, SF Style: The "AIDS Dissidents" Are as Vocal as Their Science is Dubious.