Q: I want to explore the differences between the accepted AIDS explanation and the new one you are proposing. What is the standard, 'virus-AIDS', hypothesis?

 A: It basically says that AIDS is an infectious, contagious disease, caused by a virus. It holds that the 25 'indicator diseases' of AIDS are all the result of a primary effect of the virus, which is the depletion of T-cells, one of the major components of the immune system.


Q: What are the main diseases, and are any of them new?

 A:The major diseases are pneumocystis pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma, and dementia. Not one of the 25 is new, although the whole syndrome is often referred to as a 'new disease'--in Scientific American, as well as the popular press. But this is clearly not the case. AIDS is not a new disease or a disease at all. What is new is that some of these diseases now occur in a group of people in which they formerly were virtually absent, or at least not observed in the Western, affluent countries. Twenty years ago, we didn't see 20-, 30-, or 40-year-olds with Kaposi's sarcoma, pneumonia, or dementia in the numbers we see now.


Q: And the standard explanation is that we're seeing these diseases in these people now because of the spread of the HIV virus?

 A: It's a virus, but a special type of virus in that it's different from many other viruses we know that cause disease in man and animals. It's a retrovirus, and retroviruses in fact are the most benign of viruses: they want to become part of the cell; that's how they survive. Most viruses--the ones that cause polio, flu, measles, mumps, and so forth--kill cells. A retrovirus does not.


Q: But the HIV hypothesis is that it kills immune cells, specifically T-cells.

 A: That's one of the many paradoxes of the virus-AIDS hypothesis. Immune deficiency due to a depletion of T-cells is the hallmark of AIDS; yet not more than one in 10,000 T-cells is ever actively infected by HIV. And 'infection' at this rate cannot damage the body.