AIDS: "it's the bacteria, stupid!"

Med Hypotheses. 2008 Nov;71(5):741-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.06.012. Epub 2008 Aug 8.


Acid-fast tuberculous mycobacterial infections are common in AIDS and are regarded as secondary "opportunistic infections." According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, TB is the major attributable cause of death in AIDS patients. Could such bacteria play a primary or causative role in AIDS? Certainly, In screening tests for HIV, there is frequent, up to 70%, cross-reactivity, between the gag and pol proteins of HIV and patients with mycobacterial infections such as tuberculosis. By 1972, five years before gays started dying in the U.S., Rolland wrote Genital Tuberculosis, a Forgotten Disease? And ironically, in 1979, on the eve of AIDS recognition, Gondzik and Jasiewicz showed that even in the laboratory, genitally infected tubercular male guinea pigs could infect healthy females through their semen by an HIV-compatible ratio of 1 in 6 or 17%, prompting him to warn his patients that not only was tuberculosis a sexually transmitted disease, but also the necessity of the application of suitable contraceptives, such as condoms, to avoid it. Gondzik's solution and date of publication are chilling; his findings significant. Since 1982 Cantwell et al found acid-fast bacteria closely related to tuberculosis (TB) and atypical tuberculosis in AIDS tissue. On the other hand molecular biologist and virologist Duesberg, who originally defined retroviral ultrastructure, has made it clear that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that the so-called AIDS retrovirus has never been isolated in its pure state. Dr. Etienne de Harven, first to examine retroviruses under the electron, agrees. In 1993 HIV co-discoverer Luc Montagnier reported on cell-wall-deficient (CWD) bacteria which he called "mycoplasma" in AIDS tissue. He suspected these as a necessary "co-factor" for AIDS. Remarkably, Montagnier remained silent on Cantwell's reports of acid-fast bacteria which could simulate "mycoplasma" in AIDS tissue. Mattman makes clear that the differentiation between mycoplasma and CWD bacteria is difficult at best and cites Pachas's 1985 study wherein one mycoplasma was actually mistaken for a CWD form of a bacterium closely related to the mycobacteria. It is important to realize that the statement "HIV is the sole cause of AIDS" is just a hypothesis. There are unanswered questions and controversy concerning the role of HIV "as the sole cause of AIDS." And until they are resolved, a cure is not possible. This paper explores the possible role of acid-fast tuberculous mycobacteria as "primary agents" in AIDS.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / microbiology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / etiology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Lung / virology
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mycobacterium / metabolism*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / diagnosis
  • Mycobacterium Infections / etiology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / microbiology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / virology
  • Tuberculosis / complications
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis / virology