You are hereUnderstanding the Slow Depletion of Memory CD4+ T Cells in HIV Infection

Understanding the Slow Depletion of Memory CD4+ T Cells in HIV Infection

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by Andrew Yates, Jaroslav Stark, Nigel Klein, Rustom Antia and Robin Callard

Our paper published in the scientific journal PLoS Medicine has been widely reported in the press recently.

Unfortunately, the news coverage has given the impression that our study shows that current scientific thinking regarding how HIV causes AIDS is wrong, and that we 'refute a long-standing theory'. This is incorrect, and is a serious misrepresentation of both our work and that of HIV researchers worldwide.

There is no doubt within the scientific community that HIV infection causes the loss of T cells and progression to AIDS. We emphasise that our work in no way contradicts this understanding. Rather, our study simply adds to the enormous amounts of research directed at understanding exactly how HIV causes this destruction of the immune system. Understanding this complex process will allow the design of better treatments for the disease.

Our study builds on the work of many researchers in the HIV field. What we did was suggest and test one biologically plausible explanation of how the virus might drive a slow decline in T cell counts, for which we coined the term 'runaway hypothesis'. However, our work does not imply that any widely-held scientific theory of HIV pathogenesis is false.

Clear descriptions of our study and its implications can be found both in the Editor's Summary and in the accompanying short perspective article.

We reiterate that HIV causes AIDS as a result of the destruction the virus causes to the human immune system.

House of Numbers

An AIDS denialist film "House of Numbers" is doing the rounds at film festivals and is being promoted to college campuses and similar venues. AT has published several items about the misinformation contained in the film. For comprehensive information on the lies and distortions in the film, visit Inside House of Numbers.


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