What are the Real Risks of HIV Transmission?

What are the Real Risks of HIV Transmission?

Dear Christine,

I just tested HIV positive as a result of health insurance screening. My head is still spinning because this makes no sense. I’ve never been with another man, used IV drugs, or had a transfusion. Thankfully, my wife of eight years tested negative but where do we go from here? What are the real risks for me passing it to her?


Lawrence M

Dear Lawrence,

It's impossible to quantify in real terms the risks of so-called HIV transmission given that infectious HIV has never been found directly in the blood, bodily fluids, or tissues of any human being who tests HIV positive.

What experts refer to as "finding HIV" actually involves taking a sample of blood from a positive testing person, adding that to a culture dish containing cancer cells, introducing chemical stimulants that are not natural occurring in humans to the culture which may stress the cells enough to cause production of pro-viral DNA. This pro-viral DNA may go on to "infect" other cells but this activity has never been properly established to be that of a unique, exogenous retrovirus.

Here in the US, only a small fraction of AIDS cases—about 6%—are attributed to heterosexual contact. However, a number of studies show that when heterosexual AIDS case claims are investigated, most all turn out to involve IV drug use or men having sex with men.

Even in Africa where the heterosexual AIDS epidemic that never happened here is said to be exploding, new evidence challenges the notion that HIV is sexually transmitted on that continent.

You can find several articles on the topic of HIV tests and transmission at our web site. Since it’s hard to search for information while your head is spinning, I’ve included excerpts from one below.

Take care,


Is HIV a Sexually-Transmitted Virus?
New Studies Raise Questions, Particularly in Africa
by Liam Scheff

A new African AIDS study seriously challenges the widely accepted hypothesis that HIV is a sexually transmitted virus. The study, by Dr. David Gisselquist, et al, appeared in the International Journal of STD & AIDS, a peer-reviewed journal published by Britain's Royal Society of Medicine.

According to Gisselquist, "The idea that sex explains 90% of African HIV just doesn't fit the facts…” Among the study's revelations: Sexual practices in areas with the highest rates of infection were no different than in those with low rates of infection; infants of HIV-negative mothers tested positive for HIV, as did individuals with no sexual exposure; and heterosexual couples were no more likely to transmit the virus to each other than their European and American counterparts.

This isn’t the first study to challenge the hypothesis that HIV is sexually transmitted. The 10-year Padian study (1997) observed sexually active couples in which one partner was HIV positive. The result: in 10 years, not one uninfected partner contracted HIV, even though all participants admitted to having sex without condoms. The study states, “We followed up 175 HIV-discordant couples over time, for a total of approximately 282 couple-years of follow up. The longest duration of follow-up was 12 visits (6 years). We observed no seroconversion [to HIV positive] after entry into the study."

In the three-year Stewart study (1985) not one male partner of HIV-positive women contracted HIV. Prostitution is not even listed as an HIV risk category by the CDC, because of the extremely low incidence of HIV transmission to clients who have no other risk factors such as drug abuse.

Related Articles


to Risk Realities FAQ's - Sex Risks and Guilt

to Africa In Perspective