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Science vs. Myths...
Jun 10, 2001

Before post my question: Your are doing a wonderful job here... please continue with people education & care! I recently found some internet web sites questioning about the existence of the HIV Virus, the real factors of the AIDS disease, etc. This information is complete different from all articles that I have read so far(ie. there are articles questioning the HIV Testing, etc). What is your opinion about this information? Don't you think those sites can cause confusion on some people who looking for hiv information and prevention?

Response from Dr. Cohen

Well, it seems pretty clear to me that these sites do risk a lot in terms of confusion.

I mean, what is clear to most practicing clinicians like myself, even if you forget about things we can't readily see like viral particles and such, is that those who test positive for HIV used to get sick - most of the time in years - and would often die of one illness or another. And then, when effective treatment for this HIV virus came out - the death rate slowed - even virtually stopped. And if the virus would return again, we would too often see the loss of benefits gained when HIV was controlled.

So the story line - that HIV is the center of this mess - seems quite intact to anyone paying any attention and telling the truth about what we all see. To conclude that HIV is irrelevant is to be just way out of the loop in the reality of the struggle that medical clinicians face in our daily zeal to help and continue to seek the state of health we have reached in these past few years.

But the net is a great way for information and opinion to flow freely. And there are few if any filters on what gets written. It is up to those reading to be aware that just because something is on the screen doesn't make it so. It just means someone is a decent typist with a computer. It takes more than that to have knowledge. And contrarians are always with us - sometimes playing a useful role, prodding at our points of uncertainly in our knowledge - helping us to distinguish between assumptions and facts.

But sometimes not. And sure, when lives are at stake, I would agree that the confusion generated is regrettable and unfortunate. But that is where we are. So we just do what we can to correct the misinformation. In as many ways as we can...



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