What common misinformation about HIV exists?

Updated: Jul 01, 2019
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

A small but vocal minority of people, including some scientists, continue to argue that HIV does not exist, or does not cause AIDS, and that the HIV tests are unreliable or that the therapies are toxic. Such misinformation is usually based on a lack of understanding of the scientific literature, deliberate misrepresentation, or logical fallacies based on pseudoscientific arguments.

All of the arguments proposed by these dissenters have been addressed and rebutted in the scientific literature and public discussion and even tested and rejected in the legal system. Nevertheless, they persist, and such views can have extremely harmful effects on people who are exposed to HIV infection unnecessarily or who refuse treatment for their progressing infection.

Clinicians should be aware of these issues, should be able and willing to address misinformation, and should direct their patients to reliable sources of information.

Political denial and inaction have also likely caused considerable damage. Several governments in countries with high HIV infection rates were slow to admit that they had an HIV epidemic, and at least one (South Africa) initially rejected that AIDS was even a problem, then that the disease was caused by HIV infection, and, most recently, that antiretroviral therapy was effective in treating HIV infection and preventing MTCT. Changes have now occurred but have been slow and have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

A regularly updated reference for addressing AIDS denial and misinformation can be found at AIDSTruth.org.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!