Do Animals Get AIDS?

My friends and I are having an argument about something in an article you wrote called AIDS Myth Busters. You said:

"MYTH: Chimpanzees injected with HIV positive blood get AIDS. BUSTED: HIV positive animals don't get AIDS. PERSPECTIVE: After more than a decade of effort, it has not proved possible to cause chimpanzees transfused with HIV-positive human blood to become sick with AIDS diseases, although genetically speaking chimp's are 98% similar to humans. Some people believe that primates injected with 'HIV' develop AIDS due to misleading news stories such as one from January 1996. In that instance, a press release claiming that one of 13 chimps injected in 1984 and kept at the Yerkes Primate Research Center at Emory University in Alabama had died of AIDS, causing a flurry of media reports. A month later, this news was quietly followed by more detailed information that revealed the chimp had been 'humanely euthanized' for 'severe and untreatable' anemia. Anemia is not an AIDS-defining illness."There were more than 125 laboratory chimps in institutions throughout the world that injected 15 years ago with preparations made from the serum of human AIDS patients. None has developed AIDS. In fact, scientists recently gave up trying to give them AIDS (see the article "AIDS Monkey BusinessÓ in the Rethinking AIDS section) and several million tax dollars have been allocated for a sanctuary for these primates where they can live out a natural lifespan.

"In other studies, dogs and inbred mice tested positive for one or more HIV antibodies even though they had never been transfused or injected with cell cultures believed to contain HIV and did not have any symptoms of AIDS."

I think what you're saying in the article is that monkeys cannot develop AIDS and will just stay HIV positive, while my friends think it means that humans cannot get AIDS from monkeys and monkeys cannot get AIDS from us, yet both monkeys and humans get AIDS. What do you mean?


Dear Friends

This is a great question and an interesting argument. Here's more food for thought:

Based on what information does anyone believe that monkeys get AIDS? I urge caution in accepting the medical literature at face value. The latest and most highly touted study purporting to demonstrate that SIV (not HIV) causes AIDS in monkeys showed no such thing.

The study first violated basic principles of science by using no control group, that is, there was no comparison group of monkeys injected with cell cultures not containing SIV and kept in similar circumstances (caged in laboratories) as the primates that received injections of SIV. The study claimed that three of the animals injected with SIV came down with AIDS, when in fact one was put to sleep after becoming anemic-anemia is not an AIDS defining illness-and the other two had "low" T cell counts but no clinical symptoms of AIDS. Although this information is contained in the study, it is not apparent at first glance and the contradictions are not noted. (Regarding the "T cell definition of AIDS, please note that the published medical literature shows physical or emotional isolation and stress in the absence of viral infection lower T cell counts). Since the study did not include a comparison groups of monkeys injected with cell cultures no containing SIV and kept in isolation,  and uninjected monkey kept in isolation, it is unscientific to assume that the low T cell counts observed in injected monkeys are caused by SIV.

Based on what information does anyone believe monkeys can have or have passed on AIDS to humans? The medical and popular literature on this controversial idea always assumes, but never proves or demonstrates, a leap to the human species. But the process or circumstance of this leap has no scientific explanation in the medical literature. If you or your friends have found any cogent, referenced evidence for the idea that AIDS crossed species from monkey to mankind, I would very much appreciate knowing about it.

Given the lack of proper scientific evidence, I think there is very little reason to accept the notion that monkeys have been shown to develop AIDS, whether from HIV or SIV.

I hope this keeps your discussion lively!

Take care,




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