The evidence that AIDS is caused by HIV-1 or HIV-2 is clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous, meeting the highest standards of science. The data fulfil exactly the same criteria as for other viral diseases, such as polio, measles and smallpox:|
Further compelling data are available. HIV causes AIDS. It is unfortunate that a few vocal people continue to deny the evidence. This position will cost countless lives.
- Patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, regardless of where they live, are infected with HIV.
- If not treated, most people with HIV infection show signs of AIDS within 5–10 years. HIV infection is identified in blood by detecting antibodies, gene sequences or viral isolation. These tests are as reliable as any used for detecting other virus infections.
- People who receive HIV-contaminated blood or blood products develop AIDS, whereas those who receive untainted or screened blood do not.
- Most children who develop AIDS are born to HIV-infected mothers. The higher the viral load in the mother, the greater the risk of the child becoming infected.
- In the laboratory, HIV infects the exact type of white blood cell (CD4 lymphocytes) that becomes depleted in people with AIDS.
- Drugs that block HIV replication in the test tube also reduce virus load in people and delay progression to AIDS. Where available, treatment has reduced AIDS mortality by more than 80%.
- Monkeys inoculated with cloned SIV DNA become infected and develop AIDS.