Does HIV Cause AIDS?

By Michael P. Wright

With Reply from CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan


Michael P. Wright
Norman, Oklahoma
Copyright 2000, By the Author
All Rights Reserved

[Permission granted to print out a copy and mail to your Congress member.]

[In the 1990s, the author was the recipient of two AIDS research grants from the Small Business Innovation Research program of the National Cancer Institute. At the author's request, this document was sent to CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan by Congressman JC Watts.]


Summary and Conclusion

Quantitative analysis, performed within a framework of information provided by sources widely accepted as authoritative about AIDS and HIV, does not sustain the belief that HIV causes AIDS.

Examining the period 1977 through 1986, only 28% of the cases predictable by the view that HIV causes AIDS, with a ten-year median "latency period," actually emerged on record. This period is appropriate for analysis, since later statistics were inflated by expanded AIDS case defintions and also influenced by the toxic effects of pharmaceutical treatments such as AZT.


Not even the most zealous defender of the orthodox viewpoint about AIDS would deny that the anti-viral drugs given to HIV patients are toxic and cause serious side effects. A study of AZT published by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that for asymptomatic patients treated with it, "a reduction in quality of life due to severe side effects of therapy approximately equals the increase in quality of life associated with a delay in the progression of HIV disease." [1] In plain terms,one may infer from this that the misery AZT causes patients is great enough to render life not worth living, even if it does delay death. Clearly, if an exercise of critical scrutiny cannot sustain the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS, then the tragic error of treating HIV patients with AZT and associated drugs emerges in plain view.

Computational Procedure

The numerical computation in this report relies primarily upon two sources: (1) the U.S Centers for Disease Control, and (2) Don Des Jarlais, MD, of the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Described by the New York Times as an AIDS expert, he is also a member of the National Research Council. [2]

According to CDC sources, ten years is the median "latency period" from the time an individual is infected by HIV until the onset of AIDS. This means that half of those infected in a given year will develop AIDS within ten years. [3] Further, CDC literature states that 20% will develop AIDS within five years. [4]

In 1995, the New York Times published an HIV infection curve obtained from Dr. Des Jarlais.[2] From this graph I obtained the approximate number of Americans infected by HIV during each year of the period 1976 through 1985, and constructed Table 1.

Table 1. Annual US HIV
Infections, 1976-85






















957,000 [5]

Regarding the latency period, I assumed that a normal distribution would be approximated for the annual AIDS case incidence, expressed in percentages, for the years following infection by HIV. Operating within the CDC's view that half would develop AIDS within ten years, I constructed Table 2.

Table 2. Annual AIDS Incidence
from an HIV-Infected One-Year Cohort


Pct. Developing AIDS

Cum. Pct.

Year 1.



Year 2.



Year 3.



Year 4.



Year 5.



Year 6.



Year 7.



Year 8.



Year 9.



Year 10.



Working from both tables, the expected number of cases derived from the assumption that HIV causes AIDS, with a median ten-year latency period, is obtained and illustrated by Table 3. The final result is cumulative for AIDS cases developing in the years 1977 through 1986.

Table 3. Cumulative Expected AIDS Cases for
Persons Infected in the Years 1976-85



Expected Cases
Thru 1986



1,500 (2%)



6,200 (5%)



14,850 (9%)



25,350 (13%)



28,800 (18%)



23,000 (23%)



19,720 (29%)



14,000 (35%)



8,400 (42%)



5,000 (50%)




Thus, if HIV were the cause of AIDS, there would have been around 147,000 cumulative cases in the U.S. by the end of 1986. The actual number fell far short of the mark. According to the CDC, cumulative AIDS cases for the year ending 1986 were only 41,088.[6] Observing the infection history in the population, about 72% of cases predictable by the view that HIV causes AIDS did not emerge.

Conclusion: HIV cannot be the sole cause of AIDS.


Another way of looking at the relationship between AIDS cases and estimated HIV infections is to observe the past failures of CDC officials in trying to predict AIDS cases in the future. In 1988, CDC officials James Curran and William Heyward predicted that there would be a cumulative total of 365,000 U.S. AIDS cases by 1992 [7]. Total AIDS cases reported by the CDC through March 1992 were only 218,301 -- about 60% of the number they expected. [8]

Historically, government officials have used three manipulative strategies in pursuit of a way to make the numbers appear to be in alignment with the HIV hypothesis: changing their assumption about the length of the "latency period," (2) revising the estimate of HIV infection cases downward, and (3) revising the official definition of AIDS, by making additions to the list of "AIDS-indicator" diseases, in order to inflate the case count.

For the late 80s, much of the "improvement" in the ratio of reported to predicted cases can be explained by the fact that in 1987 the CDC revised the earlier case definition and made some additions to the list of "AIDS-indicator" diseases. [9,10] The revised definition accounts for about 30% of the cases reported in the 1987-91 period. [11]

Gaping Holes in the AIDS Case Definition

The 1987 definition was so loose and flexible that it provided circumstances under which persons who were HIV negative or of indeterminate HIV status could be diagnosed as AIDS cases.[9] In an October 2000 communication from a CDC source, I was informed that HIV positive status is still not an absolute requirement for diagnosing AIDS under the revised 1993 definition [12]. In an email from the CDC's National STD and AIDS Hotline, I was informed as follows, in response to my inquiries:

In answer to question 1: If a person has been diagnosed with an AIDS Indicator Disease, then that person meets the 1993 AIDS Surveillance Case Definition, regardless of their CD4 count.

In answer to question 2: The 1993 definition also allows for HIV negative patients or those of undetermined HIV status to be diagnosed with AIDS when other causes for immunodeficiency are ruled out AND the person is definitively diagnosed with an AIDS Indicator Disease.

Clearly, there is an implicit admission in this communication that HIV certainly cannot explain all officially-recognized "AIDS," since the CDC still allows "AIDS" to be diagnosed in its absence !

Their answer to my first question is also significant. The official claim is that HIV causes "AIDS" by attacking the immune system, and we are to believe that the evidence of this attack is found in the form of a reduced CD4 cell count. But in their definition, as it was explained to me, this reduced cell count is NOT necessary to diagnose an "AIDS" case.

HIV is believed to be the cause of AIDS, yet non-HIV cases of AIDS can be diagnosed. Further, HIV is said to cause AIDS by depleting CD4 cells, but persons who are HIV-positive and have normal cell counts can be diagnosed as AIDS patients. The non-sequiturs and paradoxes in AIDS "science" are so vast that it simply boggles the mind to observe that the charlatans responsible for this fraud have been able to conduct their endeavor this long with impunity.

The Impact of Toxic Pharmaceutical Remedies

Regarding the fact that CDC officials Curran and Heyword enjoyed an improved ratio of expected to reported AIDS cases in the 1987 through 1991 period, another issue deserving consideration is the fact that in 1990 the anti-viral drug AZT was approved for prescribing to asymptomatic HIV-positive patients. [13] Peter Duesberg and other skeptics have argued that AZT is a toxic drug which is a factor accounting for AIDS. [14] To investigate this, Table 4 was constructed using the same general methodology used for the construction of Table 3. [6]

Table 4. Annual Expected and Reported AIDS
Cases for 1987-91


Expected Cases

Reported Cases



















Duesberg's critical view of AZT is supported by the fact that in 1991, the year after the drug was approved for asymptomatic HIV positives, the ratio of actual to expected AIDS cases increased to 78%. The four-year average prior to this had been only 65%.

Defenders of HIV orthodoxy might be tempted to argue that the low ratio of expected to actual cases can be explained away by incomplete reporting of AIDS cases. Available evidence would not support this argument. In 1988, CDC officials Heyward and Curran reported that studies in five major cities showed that at least 90 percent of the diagnoses meeting the AIDS case definition were in fact reported, and that the rate of reporting for AIDS is "extraordinarily high compared with that for most other diseases." [7]

My findings from this computation are reinforced by information reported in an article in Annals of Internal Medicine [15]. The researchers, indicating uncertainty about the view that HIV necessarily leads to AIDS in all cases, wrote that the risk of developing AIDS among those believed to be HIV-infected "may exceed 30%." At the very least, the practice of initiating toxic pharmaceutical therapies for individuals only on the basis of having received "positive" results from flawed diagnostic procedures purporting to detect presence of "HIV antibodies" should come under severe scrutiny.

Protease Inhibitors and Declining Mortality: Another Statistical Mirage

In 1996, the AIDS industry began to market pharmaceutical products known as "protease inhibitors" to HIV and AIDS patients. Consequently, media accounts based upon the claims of industry publicists manufactured the illusion that these drug "cocktails" were effective treatments against HIV and that declining death rates could be attributed to them.

These claims rest upon a statistical mirage. The CDC reports that the AIDS case-fatality rate for the first half of 1993 dropped to 61 from 70 in the prior six-month interval. For the first half of 1997, it had declined to 10. [16] A superficial inspection of the 1997 decline could result in the misleading conclusion that protease inhibitors account for the dramatic 1997 decrease.

A better explanation is available: the declining death rates among "AIDS" patients in this period are explained by the fact that, with the CDC's revised 1993 case definition in place, a huge proportion of those diagnosed with the syndrome were suffering no illness. This is because the CDC's 1993 contrivance allows asymptomatic patients with low CD4 cell counts to be diagnosed as AIDS cases. [12] A CDC table published for December 1997 indicates that the percentage of cases accounted for by the 1993 definition grew from 49% in 1994 to 68% in 1997. [17] A note accompanying the graph says that these cases "chiefly represent reporting persons who had CD4 cell counts below 200 [per cubic milliliter] with or without illness" [emphasis added]. As demonstrated by Table 5, over these years the reported case-fatality rate diminished steadily in accordance with the growth in cases accounted for by this definition. Further, it is most interesting to note that the decline was taking place before the initiation of protease inhibitor treatments.

Table 5. Cases Accounted for by the 1993 Definition
and Case-Fatality Rate, 1994-97


Cases (%) Under '93 Definition

Case-Fatality Rate

Jan-Jun 1994



Jul-Dec 1994



Jan-Jun 1995



Jul-Dec 1995



Jan-Jun 1996



Jul-Dec 1996



Jan-Jun 1997



*Percentage given for Jan-Jun row entry is for the entire year.

Another explanation for the decline is the time lag from the onset of disease until death. The case-fatality rates are based upon the number of deaths ever counted from AIDS cases diagnosed in the reported period, regardless of the year of death. The footnote on the CDC table reporting these figures also makes this interesting and revealing statement: [16]

"Reported deaths are not necessarily caused by HIV-related disease."

I ask Congress members to forward this memo to the Jeffrey Koplan, M.D., Director of the US Centers for Disease Control, and ask him how he can reconcile the view that HIV causes AIDS with this information. Please copy it to Helene Gayle, M.D., Director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (CDC). Please also send copies of their answers to me and to Paul Philpott, editor of the Rethinking AIDS Newsletter.


Write to your Senators and Congressmen and demand a critical review of AIDS policy. Give them the address to this website.


1.W.R. Lenderking, et al., "Evaluation of the Quality of Life Associated with Zidovudine Treatment in Asymptomatic Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection," New England Journal of Medicine 1994, Vol. 330, no. 11, p. 738.

2. Gina Kolata, "New Picture of Who Will Get AIDS Is Crammed With Addicts," The New York Times, (February 28, 1995), p. B6

3. CDC, National Prevention Information Network Website, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About HIV and AIDS (

4. CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Vol. 47, no. RR-5, April 24, 1998, p. 4.

5. This sum is consistent with the fact that in 1987 the CDC estimated the number of HIV-infected Americans to be in the range of 945,000 to 1,400,000 (Source: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 36, No. S-6, December 18, 1987, Table 14.)

6.CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1994, Vol. 6, no. 2, p. 19

7.William Heyward and James Curran, "The Epidemiology of AIDS in the US," Scientific American, Vol. 259, no. 4, October 1988

8. CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, First Quarter 1992, p. 5.

9.CDC,1987."Revision of the CDC Surveillance Case Definition for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome," MMWR 36 (Suppl lS):3S-lSS, 1987; HH Imrey, "AIDS Case Definition," Science 1988, 240:1263.

10. Robert Root-Bernstein, "The Evolving Definition of AIDS" (

11. CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1994, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 25.

12. CDC, "1993 Revised Classification System for HIV Infection and Expanded Surveillance Case Definition for AIDS Among Adolescents and Adults," Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 269, No. 6, (February 10, 1993), p. 729.

13. Steven Epstein, Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge (Berkeley: University of California, 1996), p. 148.

14.Peter Duesberg, Inventing the AIDS Virus (Washington: Regnery, 1996), Chapter 9.

15. "Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus" [editorial], Annals of Internal Medicine 1986, Vol. 105, no. 4, p. 609

16. CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1997, Vol. 9, no. 2, p. 19.

17. CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1997, Vol. 9, no. 2, p. 17.

For information about the author, go here.

How to Contact the Author

Michael Wright
P.O. Box 204
Norman, Oklahoma 73070


CDC Boss Stumbles in Reply to Watts

Below is a copy of the letter sent to Congressman Watts by CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan, who was replying to my memo.

Attached to it was an article, by Ron Brookmeyer, "Reconstruction and Future Trends of the AIDS Epidemic in the United States" (Science 253, July 5, 1991: 37-42).

Following Koplan's letter is my reply, sent to Congressman Watts. Koplan made many mistakes as he went about trying to stretch reality around to suit his political agenda.

Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Atlanta, GA 30333

The Honorable J.C. Watts, Jr.
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-3604

Dear Mr. Watts:

Thank you for your letter on behalf of your constituent Mr. Michael Wright,
requesting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reconcile
the view that HIV causes AIDS with the analysis Mr. Wright presents in his
memorandum. I apologize for the delay in responding to your letter.

CDC is committed to providing the scientific community and the public with accurate and objective information about HIV infection and AIDS. We cannot verify the estimates of HIV infection (Table 1. Annual US HIV Infections, 1976-85) upon which Mr. Wright bases his conclusions. Estimates for reconstruction of HIV infection rates are described in the enclosed article entitled Reconstruction and Future Trends of the AIDS Epidemic in the United States. Using the estimates from Figure 2 of this article, we have revised the numbers for Table 1 from Mr. Wright's memorandum as follows:

Reconstructed HIV Infection
Rates in the US


Page 2 - The Honorable J.C. Watts, Jr.

Mr. Wright also proposed a normal distribution pattern to estimate the expected cases of AIDS in HIV-positive individuals through 1986. Although the incubation distribution for AIDS does not follow a normal distribution pattern, we used the figures Mr. Wright presented in Table 2 of his memorandum to reconstruct his Table 3 based on the estimates of expected annual AIDS cases (1976-85).

REVISED Table 3. Annual Expected AIDS Cases
for Persons Infected in the Years, 1976-85

Year _____Infections______ Expected Cases

1985............160,000...............3,200 (2%)
1984............150,000...............7,500 (5%)
1983............120,000.............10,800 (9%)
1982............100,000.............13,000 (13%)
1981..............60,000.............10,800 (18%)
1980..............20,000...............4,600 (23%)
1979................5,000...............1,500 (29%)
1978.......................0......................0 (35%)
1977.......................0......................0 (42%)
1976.......................0......................0 (50%)



Based on currently available data, CDC cumulative AIDS cases for the year ending 1986 are 42,600. This number is not adjusted upward to account for incomplete case reporting, and at best we can consider this estimate to represent 90 percent of the actual number of AIDS cases. The estimated AIDS cases (51,400) predicted to develoop in the time frame described annually come very close to the number of AIDS cases reported for the ten-year period.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that HIV causes AIDS. An infectious cause of AIDS was strongly suggested because of the geographic clustering of cases, links among cases by sexual contact, mother-to-infant transmission, and transmission by blood transfusion. Isolation of HIV from patients with AIDS strongly confirmed that this virus was the cause of AIDS.

Page 3 - The Honorable J.C. Watts, Jr.

Since the early 1980s, HIV and AIDS have been repeatedly linked in time, place, and population group; the appearance of HIV in the blood supply has preceded or coincided with the occurrence of AIDS cases in every country and region where AIDS has been noted. Individuals of all ages from many risk groups -- including men who have sex with men, iinfants born to HIV-infected mothers, heterosexual women and men, persons with hemophilia, recipients of blood and blood products, healthcare workers and others occupationally exposed to HIV-tainted blood, and male and female injection drug users -- have all developed AIDS with only one common denominator: infection with HIV.

Scientific research has proven that HIV destroys CD4+ cells, which are crucial to the normal function of the human immune system. In fact, depletion of CD4+ cells in HIV-infected individuals is an extremely powerful predictor of the development of AIDS. Studies of thousands of individuals have revealed that most HIV- infected people carry the virus for years before enough damage is done to the immune system for AIDS to develop. Recently developed sensitive tests show a strong correlation between the amount of HIV in the blood and the subsequent decline in CD4+ cell numbers and development of AIDS. Furthermore, studies also prove that reducing the amount of virus in the body, by using anti-HIV drugs, can slow this immune destruction.

In his memorandum, Mr. Wright raises concerns about "flawed diagnostic procedures purporting to detect the presence of 'HIV antibodies.' " The accuracy of HIV-testing is well-documented. Diagnosis of infection using antibody testing is one of the best- established concepts in medicine. HIV antibody tests exceed the performance of most other infectious disease tests in both sensitivity (the ability of the screening test to give a positive finding when the person tested truly has the disease) and specificity (the ability of the test to give a negative finding when the subjects tested are free of the disease under study). Current HIV antibody tests have sensitivity and specificity in excess of 98 percent and are therefore extremely reliable (WHO, 1998; Sloand, et al. JAMA 1991, 266:2861).

Progress in testing methodology has also enabled detection of viral genetic material, antigens, and the virus itself in body fluids and cells. These direct testing techniques have confirmed the validity of HIV antibody tests. The following articles represent some references on this topic: Jackson, et al. J Clin Microbiol 1990, 28:16; Busch et al. NEJM 1991, 325:1; Silvester, et al. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 1995, 8:411; Urassa, et al. J Clin Virol 1999, 14:25; Nkengasong, et al. AIDS 1999, 13:109; Samdal, et al. Clin Diagn Virol 1996, 7:55.

The inescapable conclusions of nearly 20 years of epidemiologic and virologic research are that most people, if exposed through sexual contact or injection injection drug use, are susceptible to HIV infection, and if they become infected and do not receive treatment, most, if not all, persons will

Page 4 - The Honorable J.C. Watts, Jr.

develop AIDS. Therefore, AIDS prevention programs continue to be based on our understanding of scientifically defined HIV transmission modes because prevention of HIV is prevention of AIDS.

I hope this information is helpful.


Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H.

My reply to Koplan:

I concluded by suggesting that Congressman Watts ask Dr. Koplan why he should continue to enjoy the trust of occupying a powerful public health office.

December 9, 2000

Congressman JC Watts
US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Watts:

Thank you for forwarding the letter from CDC director Jeffrey Koplan, who replied to my memo attacking the official viewpoint that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS. Dr. Koplan's response was seriously flawed, and deserves critical review.

In brief summary, working within a framework of information obtained from sources considered authoritative by the orthodox community, my memo demonstrated that the view of HIV as the sole cause of AIDS cannot be sustained, and that only 28% of the cases predictable by naming HIV as the cause actually emerged on record. Not surprisingly, Dr. Koplan's response was to attempt to stretch the numbers to fit the official hypothesis. He chose to disregard the infection curve incorporated into my memo. The source for this curve was Dr. Don Des Jarlais, described as an AIDS expert by the New York Times.

Dr. Koplan revised my Table 1 to suit himself, and relied upon an article entitled "Reconstruction and Future Trends of the AIDS Epidemic in the United States" (Science, July 5, 1991). Dr. Koplan's most notable flaw was that he did not even replicate the data accurately from the article he presented as authority. Dr. Koplan's table indicates cumulative infections of 25,000, 185,000, and 615,000 at the beginning of 1981, 1983, and 1986, respectively. This is in conflict with what the Science article says:

"The cumulative number of infections from 1977 to the beginning of 1981, 1983, and 1986 were 50,000, 250,000, and 715,000, respectively." (p. 38)

Dr. Koplan's version of my Table 1 shows zero infections in 1978, yet Figure 3 in the Science article he sent indicates that HIV began to spread in that year, and that there were a few thousand cases.

The Science article sent by him also says:

"The cumulative number of HIV infections by 1 April 1990 was 1,050,000 with a plausible range of 850,000 to 1,205,000." (p. 39)

Yet the CDC ignored this as they went about revising the official estimate of HIV infections downward in 1996, when the new mid- range estimate became 775,000 (Journal of the American Medical Association, July 10, 1996). CDC spokesmen continually revise their numbers to suit whatever happens to be the agenda of the moment. Is it not time for this agency to be seriously overhauled?

Dr. Koplan's behavior becomes even more troublesome. He disputed my having incorporated a normal distribution to estimate the expected annual number of AIDS cases which would be forthcoming if HIV were truly the cause, then he contradicted himself by relying upon the percentages I had obtained from my assumption of normality, as he went about constructing his own table to reconcile the numbers to his advantage ! He writes:

"Mr. Wright proposed a normal distribution pattern to estimate the expected cases of AIDS in HIV-positive individuals through 1986. Although the incubation distribution for AIDS does not follow a normal distribution pattern, we used the figures Mr. Wright presented in Table 2 of his memorandum to reconstruct Table 3 based upon the estimates of expected annual AIDS cases (1976-85)."

After going through this tortured reasoning, he created his own table, based upon incorrect presentation of data from the Science article, to fabricate the conclusion that the expected cases were 51,400, and the actual recorded cases were 42,600. He reconciles this by repeating the claim that under-reporting accounts for the discrepancy. Then he goes about praising the "overwhelming scientific consensus that HIV causes AIDS."

Dr. Koplan also makes this interesting statement:

"Scientific research has proven that HIV destroys CD4+ cells, which are crucial to the normal function of the human immune system."

This is in conflict with another CDC statement, sent to me by e-mail, a copy of which I have included for you with this letter:

"If a person has been diagnosed with an AIDS Indicator Disease, then that person meets the 1993 AIDS Surveillance Case Definition, regardless of the CD4 count."

In other words, in spite of the belief that HIV causes AIDS by depleting CD4 counts, the CDC has manufactured a case definition which allows patients with normal CD4 counts to be diagnosed as AIDS cases. This was done because their agenda of the moment was to make the definition as flexible as possible, so as to inflate the case count and continue to nourish public support for the enhanced spending they have enjoyed by fanning the flames of fear.

If "scientific research," as Dr. Koplan claims, has really "proven" that HIV destroys CD4 cells, then why does the CDC not incorporate this "knowledge" into its official AIDS definition?

The answer, Congressman Watts, is that "scientific research" has had little to do with the construction of the fraudulent belief system which our government has promoted in regard to AIDS. AIDS pseudo-science is rooted in politics and the special interests of the medico-pharmaceutical complex.

Is it not time for Congress to put an end to this fraud? I ask you to forward this letter to Dr. Koplan, and ask him, in light of the errors he made in his reply to me, why he should continue to enjoy the trust of occupying a powerful public health office. Please also forward my revised memo (attached).


Michael P. Wright
PO Box 204
Norman, Oklahoma 73070


As of June 10, 2001, I have not been informed of a reply from the CDC.