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AIDS Virus?
Dec 15, 2006

Sorry if this sounds like a really basic question but is there such a thing as an AIDS virus? I'm pretty confident there isn't but my main source of news, The New York Times, uses the term everytime they write about HIV.

This is a quote from today's (12/13/06) paper: "Circumcising African men may cut their risk of catching AIDS in half, the National Institutes of Health said today as it stopped two clinical trials in Africa, when preliminary results suggested that circumcision worked so well that it would be unethical not to offer it to uncircumcised men in the trials."

and this is only one of many times.

I'm wondering how a major news organization can get it so wrong so frequently. Or is that I'm wrong?

Thanks, A.J.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello A.J.,

Is there such a thing as an AIDS virus????? Oh my. Please tell me you're kidding. Perhaps you're just a semantics kind of guy and realize that the term "catching AIDS" should be more correctly stated "catching HIV, the virus that causes AIDS." However, if that's not the case and you really wonder if HIV exists, then either:

1. You've been home schooled.

2. You've lived under a rock for the past 25 years and have never seen television, a newspaper or a magazine.

3. You've recently been beamed down from Planet Clueless.

So, A.J., if you are "Semantics-Guy," you can write to the NY Times and remind them that technically speaking, one catches HIV, not AIDS. However, if you are instead one of the three options listed above, do spend some time on this site reviewing HIV/AIDS basic facts, OK?

Either way, Happy Holidays.

Dr. Bob



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