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"If there is evidence that HIV causes AIDS, there should be scientific documents which either singly or collectively demonstrate that fact, at least with a high probability. There is no such document...The HIV theory, the way it is being applied, is unfalsifiable and therefore useless as a medical hypothesis."

Said Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel prize for his invention of the PCR (that make HIV tests possible).

Now if the HIV causes AIDS theory is unfalsifiable and there are no documents that demonstrate that HIV actually causes AIDS, then why is the theory widely considered to be correct?

Related Question: Is HIV a sexually transmitted infection?

Related Question: Koch's postulates for judging if HIV causes AIDS

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I call to close this question a unconstructive, lack a precise claim or notability for the links provided and most of the paragraphs of the question, also "strawmen" the issue between "HIV->AIDS" and "someone said HIV //applied in a unexplained way// is unfalsifiable, so must be it". also lack of references or even a proper Google search. –  Alen Aug 12 '12 at 20:42
The guy invented the PCR that made HIV test possible for which he earned the Nobel prize. It's not just someone. –  user8150 Aug 12 '12 at 20:53
I think this a good question. It's a claim made by a notable scientist - it happens to be very wrong, but it's a notable claim and the question shows research effort. It's not fair to ask the questioner what he thinks the cause of AIDS is - that's our job, to rebut the claim that he references. But I hope that the questioner will read the answers with an open mind - judging by his own comments, he seems to have already made his decision, alas. –  Mark Beadles Aug 13 '12 at 0:54
P.S.: I agree that this question is perfectly fine for Skeptics (I upvoted it). Although I would prefer a link to Kary Mullis' quote. –  Oliver_C Aug 13 '12 at 8:33
I, too, think the question is good. But, and this may explain some downvotes, the questioner has not worked to demonstrate the key sources making the claim at all, never mind recent sources. I will upvote when specific concrete claims are demonstrated not just asserted. And I would hope that a comprehensive summary of the key evidence will emerge as it is just the sort of question this site was meant to handle. –  matt_black Aug 13 '12 at 20:56

2 Answers 2

HIV causes AIDS. At this stage, it is dangerous and negligent to suggest otherwise.

The claim that there are no "documents" that show HIV causes AIDS is simply mistaken.

Here are some documents that do demonstrate that, or that, in turn, list the evidence that HIV causes AIDS.

Numerous studies of HIV-infected people have shown that high levels of infectious HIV, viral antigens, and HIV nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) in the body predict immune system deterioration and an increased risk for developing AIDS. Conversely, patients with low levels of virus have a much lower risk of developing AIDS.

It is AVERT's considered opinion that the evidence that HIV causes AIDS is abundant and conclusive. This page outlines some of that evidence, while also mentioning how some dissidents have interpreted things differently.

Other indirect evidence that HIV was the cause of AIDS came from the demonstration, in 1984, of its high degree of tropism for the subgroup of CD4+ T cells, its consistent isolation from patients of different origins who had AIDS, and the isolation of similar viruses that cause AIDS in nonhuman primates (specifically, macaques). Thus, the causative relation between HIV and AIDS was accepted by the scientific and medical community in 1984 and was further verified through the later isolation of HIV type 2 in West African patients with AIDS. The relation was also supported by the clinical efficacy of drugs that specifically inhibit HIV enzymes and the demonstration that mutations in one of the coreceptors for HIV (CCR5) make some persons highly resistant to HIV infection and AIDS.

Although the scientific evidence is overwhelming and compelling that HIV is the cause of AIDS, the disease process is still not completely understood. This incomplete understanding has led some persons to make statements that AIDS is not caused by an infectious agent or is caused by a virus that is not HIV. This is not only misleading, but may have dangerous consequences. Before the discovery of HIV, evidence from epidemiologic studies involving tracing of patients’ sex partners and cases occurring in persons receiving transfusions of blood or blood clotting products had clearly indicated that the underlying cause of the condition was an infectious agent. Infection with HIV has been the sole common factor shared by AIDS cases throughout the world among men who have sex with men, transfusion recipients, persons with hemophilia, sex partners of infected persons, children born to infected women, and occupationally exposed health care workers.

The conclusion after more than 28 years of scientific research is that people, if exposed to HIV through sexual contact or injecting drug use for example, may become infected with HIV. If they become infected, most will eventually develop AIDS.

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The claim that HIV causes AIDS is based on the belief that HIV causes AIDS by killing the CD4+ T cells directly or indirectly after long incubation times (about 10 years), and the number of these cells will reach very low levels (<300/ µL) which leads to severe immune deficiency. People who have severe immune deficiency usually suffer from viral infections, bacterial, fungal and yeast infections. Certain forms of cancer such Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and lymphoma are also linked to AIDS.

HIV-free cases of AIDS are not new. They have been reported in the medical literature since 1986. Cases since 1986 have been verified to be uninfected over extended periods (6 months to several years) using ELISA, Western blot and PCR. Patients have developed low CD4 counts, Kaposi's sarcoma, disseminated candidiasis, disseminated tuberculosis, thrombocytopenia, and other opportunistic infections (Root-Bernstein, 1990, Pers. Biol. Med., 33:480). Cases matching the CDC surveillance definition of AIDS can also be found in the medical literature as far back as 1872, well before HIV is assumed to have emerged (Huminer et al., 1987, Rev. of Inf. Dis., 9:1102).

As of 1989, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that 5% of all U.S. AIDS patients who had been tested for HIV to that time were HIV-negative. No figures have been reported by the CDC since 1989.

Source: Unexplained CD4+ T-Lymphocyte Depletion in Persons Without Evident HIV Infection -- United States


There is no doubt that AIDS is responsible for some tough experiences in life as it relates to health. But does the currently available evidence prove beyond reasonable doubt that a unique, exogenously acquired retrovirus has been isolated from the tissues of AIDS patients?

The existence of HIV-free AIDS (as per CDC report) proves that HIV is not a necessary cause of acquired immunodeficiency. This does not exclude HIV play a role in the majority of cases of AIDS, but may also mean that HIV is the primary immunosuppressive agent of AIDS.

If non-HIV immunosuppressive agents can cause AIDS in HIV free people, they can also cause AIDS in people infected with HIV. Essentially all patients with AIDS have several immunosuppressive risks simultaneously. Acknowledgement of HIV-free AIDS makes it untenable not to reconsider the idea that these measures are sufficient in themselves to cause AIDS.

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This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this post by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

I've removed all links to AIDS-denialist (unreputable) material, and left links to reputable resources. I don't think I've changed the meaning of your answer by doing this. If you want to make further edits, please do so but: 1. Do not plagiarize and 2. Only link to reputable resources. –  Sklivvz Sep 2 at 9:23
Also, comments are not meant for extended discussion. To all: use our Skeptics Chat. –  Sklivvz Sep 2 at 9:25

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