Q: But clearly people do have HIV, or antibodies to HIV, in their blood. What does this mean?

 A: You may call it, at least in this country, a surrogate marker for risk behavior. It is very difficult to pick up because the virus is mostly latent; therefore, to pick it up you have to have lots of contacts with other people. And that is essentially the same as saying you're practicing risk behavior.


Q: Sexual promiscuity?

 A: Sex is one way. But, as we know from the literature, sex is an extremely inefficient way. On the average, 500 sexual contacts are required to pick up the latent HIV from a partner. That's a lot of contacts.

You could pick it up from a blood transfusion. And you clearly could receive it from your mother--that's how it is naturally transmitted in Africa, perinatally. That's how virtually all retroviruses in animals are transmitted, from mother to offspring. That's why it is found in both sexes and in very high percentages of the population in some countries, like Zaire.


Q: Which means what?

 A: Which simply means that in Africa it is an endemic retrovirus, harmless, of which there are many examples in the animal kingdom and even in some humans.


Q: If HIV is harmless, and endemic in parts of Africa, what is causing the deaths there that we are told are due to AIDS?

 A: Most of it, I think, is a matter of giving old diseases a new name. I think slim disease, fever, diarrhea--the main AIDS diseases in Africa--have existed there all along.


Q: Caused by what?

 A: Malnutrition and parasitic infection, which is far more common there than here. The water is unsterile, the food isn't as clean as it is here, and the nutrition is protein-deficient. A balanced diet would solve most of the health problems in Africa.

Throughout the world, protein malnutrition is the most common cause of disease. The AIDS diseases in fact are the diseases of the poor we had in Europe and the United States a century ago.

We're told that AIDS is a microbial disease, a microbial epidemic. The epidemic exists, but it is not a microbial epidemic. It is a drug epidemic associated with malnutrition.