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Rapid response to:

News Extra [these Stories Appear Only On The Web]

Canadian aboriginals in Vancouver face AIDS epidemic

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 18 January 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:126

Rapid Response:

Sex has nothing to do with AIDS

Dear Editor,

I challenge Dr. Gareth Lloyd to come up with the names (even one will
do) of the persons who are documented to have shown that AIDS (or even
HIV) is sexually transmitted. I know of no such study. In fact, the
scientific, medical literature is full of evidence that neither AIDS nor
HIV is sexually transmitted. It is only assumed that they are.

The results of the world's best scientific study that attempted to
measure the efficiency of heterosexual transmission of antibodies to HIV
was conducted by Nancy Padian and her colleagues (Padian NS, et al.
(1997): Heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in
northern California: results from a ten-year study. Am J Epidemiol 146:

The most striking result of the ten-year study is that Padian et al.
did not observe any HIV-negative sex partners becoming HIV-positive from
years of unprotected sexual intercourse with their HIV-positive partners.
I repeat—NOT ONE HIV-negative sex partner became positive during the 10-
year study. Therefore, the observed transmission efficiency was ZERO.

However, to avoid reporting a zero efficiency for the sexual
transmission of HIV, Padian and colleagues assumed that the HIV-positive
sex partners in their study must have become positive through sexual
intercourse before entering the study. Using that assumption, they
estimated that an HIV-negative woman would have to have sexual intercourse
1000 times with HIV-positive men before becoming HIV-positive herself.
Even more astounding, HIV-negative men would have to have 8000 sexual
contacts before becoming HIV-positive. Virtually identical figures have
been reported by others (Gisselquist, D., et al., HIV infections in sub-
Saharan Africa not explained by sexual or vertical transmission. Int J STD
AIDS, 2002. 13: p. 657-666; Jacquez, J.A., et al., Role of the primary
infection in epidemics of HIV infection in gay cohorts. J Acquir Immune
Defic Syndr, 1994. 7: p. 1169-1184).

Given these figures and that the Centers for Disease Control
estimates that one million Americans have antibodies to HIV raises an
enormous problem for sexually transmitted HIV. Since there are around 280
million men and women in the USA, that means that on average an HIV-
negative woman would have to have random sexual intercourse 140,000 times
(and a man eight times that number) in order to become HIV-positive
(assuming equal distribution of HIV between the sexes).

Below are additional examples in the literature that neither AIDS nor
HIV is sexually transmitted.

None of the husbands of HIV positive women became antibody positive
to HIV over a three-year period. (Lancet ii: 581 (1985), Stewart et al.}

No transmission of HIV was observed between couples in which all of
the women were HIV positive and in which at least 100 sexual contacts
occurred. (JAMA 259: 3037 (1988), Padian et al.)

After a mean of 3-1/2 years of unprotected intercourse, with an
average of 50 sexual encounters per year, only one hemophiliac wife became
HIV positive. (American Journal of Medicine 85: 472 (1988), Kim et al.)

No transmission of T-cell abnormalities from hemophiliacs with AIDS
to their spouses. (JAMA 251: 1450 (1984), Kreiss et al.)

"The number of American and European heterosexuals who have had
sexual relations with a prostitute, who have no other admitted risk
factors (such as drug abuse), and who have subsequently developed antibody
to HIV can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Sex with a prostitute is
not even listed as a risk category by the American CDC." (Rethinking AIDS,
Root-Bernstein (1993))

"Non-drug abusing prostitutes have no higher risk of AIDS than other
women." (AIDS: the second decade, report from the National Academy of
Sciences USA (1990))

The same is true for prostitutes in Germany, Zurich, Vienna, London,
Paris, Pardenone (Italy), and Athens. (Klinische Wochenschrift 65: 287
(1987), Luthy et al.; Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 98: 697 (1986), Kopp
& Dangl-Erlach; Lancet ii: 1424 (1985), Brenky-Fandeux & Fribourg-
Blanc; British Medical Journal 297: 1585 (1988), Day et al.; Scand J
Infect Dis 21: 353 (1988), Hyams et al.)

The repeated appearance between AIDS (antibodies to HIV) in drug
users around the world is no coincidence (Duesberg, P.H. and D. Rasnick,
The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus. Genetica,
1998. 104: p. 85-132).

David Rasnick, PhD

Member of Mbeki's AIDS Advisory Panel

Visiting Scientist

Dept. Molecular & Cell Biology,
University of California at Berkeley,
Berkeley, CA 94720

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 January 2003
David Rasnick
Visiting Scientist, Dept. MCB
UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720