Contrary to popular belief, AIDS is not new and is not a disease.
AIDS is a new name given by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
to a collection of 29 familiar illnesses and conditions including
yeast infection, herpes, diarrhea, some pneumonias, certain cancers,
salmonella, and tuberculosis. (1) These illnesses are called AIDS
only when they occur in a person who also has protective disease
fighting proteins or antibodies that are thought to be associated
A person is diagnosed with AIDS if they have
one or more of
the 29 official AIDS-defining conditions and if they also testpositive
for antibodies associated with HIV. In other words, pneumonia in
a person who tests HIV positive is AIDS, while the same pneumonia
in a person testing HIV negative is pneumonia. The clinical manifestations
and symptoms of the pneumonia may be identical, but one is called
AIDS while the other is just called pneumonia.
None of the 29 AIDS illnesses are new, none appear
exclusively in people who test positive for HIV antibodies, and
all have documented causes and treatments that are unrelated to
HIV. Prior to the CDC's creation of the AIDS category, these 29
old diseases and conditions were not thought to have a single, common
Although most of us associate AIDS with severe
illness, on January 1, 1993, the CDC expanded the definition of
AIDS to include people with a
count of 200 or less who have no illness or symptoms. (2) This new
definition caused the number of AIDS cases in America to double
overnight. (3) Since 1993, more than half of all new AIDS cases
diagnosed each year have been among people who have no clinical
symptoms or disease. (4)
It is only through expansions of the AIDS definition
that the number of new AIDS cases has grown. The definition of AIDS
in America has been expanded three times since 1981. Although each
addition to the definition has caused significant increases in the
number of new AIDS cases, AIDS had leveled off in all risk groups
by 1992 and has been declining steadily since the second quarter
the CDC had continued to use the first three definitions of AIDS,
new American AIDS cases for 1997 would have totaled just over 10,000,
making AIDS a relatively insignificant health problem. Using the
1993 definition, 21,000 new cases of AIDS were added to the year's
total, and of these, more than 20,000 cases were counted among people
with no symptoms or illness. (5)
In 1998, the CDC ceased providing information
on what AIDS diseases or definitions qualify people for an AIDS
diagnosis each year. This means that the public will no longer know
how many new AIDS cases are diagnosed in people who are not ill.
Another surprising fact is that you can receive
a diagnosis of AIDS without ever having an HIV test. This is referred
to as a "presumptive diagnosis." According to CDC records,
more than 62,000 American AIDS cases have been diagnosed with no
HIV test. (7) Even though the only difference between "pneumonia"
and "AIDS" is a positive HIV test, the test is not required
for a diagnosis of AIDS.
Since AIDS is not a disease, and there is no
single, universally accepted definition for AIDS, the conditions
that are called AIDS vary from country to country. For example,
Canada's Laboratory Centre for Disease Control (LCDC) does not recognize
the American T cell count criteria for AIDS. (8) This means that
182,200 American AIDS patients -- more than 25% of all people in
the US ever diagnosed with AIDS -- would not have AIDS if they were
The World Health Organization (WHO) employs two
distinctly different definitions for AIDS in Africa, neither of
which conform to the criteria for American AIDS or Canadian AIDS.
The diagnostic definition most commonly used in Africa does not
require an HIV test, only that a patient have at least one of three
major clinical symptoms (weight loss, fever and/or cough), plus
one "minor sign" such as generalized itching or swollen
Before bringing us AIDS, the CDC attempted to
sound similar alarms over relatively insignificant health matters.
In 1976, after five soldiers stationed at a military base in New
Jersey contracted the flu, CDC officials announced an imminent influenza
epidemic. Their news releases predicted an outbreak that could wipe
out as many as 500,000 Americans within a year. Congress responded
to the CDC warnings by diverting millions of federal dollars into
an emergency vaccine program, and following appeals from US President
Gerald Ford, multitudes of concerned Americans received Swine Flu
shots. However, no epidemic ever materialized and no substantiation
for the notion of a life-threatening pig virus was ever found. Instead,
more than 600 people were left paralyzed by the vaccine which also
caused nearly 100 deaths. (11)
CDC raised public concern again the next year with harrowing predictions
for Legionnaire's Disease. Following massive government research
efforts and relentless media reports of a new contagious disease,
the form of common pneumonia dubbed "Legionnaire's" ended
up taking the lives of less than 30 people nationwide. It was later
discovered that 20 to 30 percent of Americans are positive for the
Legionella bacteria, a common
found in water systems throughout the country. (12) The CDC's preoccupation
with contagious illness contrasts with the fact that all infectious
diseases combined take the lives of less than 1% of modern day Americans.
Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Antibodies: Proteins that are manufactured
by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to neutralize an antigen
(foreign protein) in the body. Bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms
commonly contain many antigens; antibodies formed against these
antigens help the body neutralize or destroy the invading microbe.
Antibodies may also be formed in response to vaccines.
HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus;
the alleged cause of AIDS.
T cell: One of the two main classes
of lymphocytes. T cells play an important role in the body's immune
Virus: An organism comprised mainly
of genetic material within a protein coat. Depending on the type
of virus, the nucleic acid may be either DNA or RNA; in retroviruses,
the nucleic acid is RNA. Viruses are incapable of activities typical
of life such as growth, respiration and metabolism. Outside living
cells, viruses are wholly inert.
Microbe: A minute form of life;
a microorganism, especially one that causes disease.