Commentary | Facts is facts

Re: “In denial” | Features | November 16

HIV causes AIDS.  This is proven through science and is indisputable, as Stephanie Law says in her article.  However, she misinterprets science when she says that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS, which she does repeatedly and with great emphasis.  She offers no proof of this, as none exists. The way AIDS is described, it requires only that your immune system be sufficiently compromised (CD4+ levels be sufficiently low or certain exceptions). HIV does this; however, nothing (particularly, science) says that something else couldn’t do this as well. For example, a genetic abnormality that results in unstable CD4+ cells could theoretically result in AIDS.  In addition, the argument against the syphilis equivalent of HIV (the bacteria Treponema pallidum) causing AIDS does not hold water. If HIV infection was curable, as T. pallidum infection is, then we would expect the exact same trends: increasing HIV infection rates and decreasing AIDS rates. Not that I’m saying syphilis causes AIDS; I have no idea (though I do think it’s pretty far-fetched), but neither Scythes nor Law offers any real evidence one way or the other. However, I agree that searching for alternate causes of AIDS is a waste of time, money, and lives. HIV is the only known cause of AIDS, and many people have looked. There is no doubt that HIV infection is the cause of the AIDS epidemic. My point may seem like a small one, but when railing against pseudo-science and the misinterpretation of facts, it is important to get the facts right, especially ones emphasized so prominently.  Using misinterpreted science and statistics to fight the good fight gives ammunition to those who spread lies, deception, and false hope. Law should stick to the facts: HIV causes AIDS.

Daniel HoopsMcGill alumnus

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