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The Durban Declaration

The Durban Declaration – signed by over 5,000 people, including eleven Nobel prizewinners, directors of leading research institutions, scientific academies and medical societies, notably the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Institute of Medicine, Max Planck institutes, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Royal Society of London, the AIDS Society of India and the National Institute of Virology in South Africa – was a statement made at the 2000 AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa in response to statements by South Africa president Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki suggested that HIV might not cause AIDS, and at the Durban conference over 5,000 people (MD's, PhD's or equivalent) signed a statement which included the following:

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:

  • 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 510 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.
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.

Read the article in Nature magazine which contains more information on The Declaration. Here is the full list of Durban Declaration Signatories.
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