Commentary | Published:

The Durban Declaration

Nature volume 406, pages 1516 (06 July 2000) | Download Citation



The declaration on these two pages was stimulated by the current controversy in South Africa about whether HIV is the cause of AIDS (see, for example, Nature 404, 911; 2000 and Nature 405, 105; 2000). This has caused massive consternation among all scientists, doctors and many others in the international community who treat AIDS patients or who work on AIDS in other ways. There is widespread anxiety that denying or doubting the cause of AIDS will cost countless lives if blood screening, use of condoms, and methods to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus are not implemented or, worse, even abandoned.

The declaration has been signed by over 5,000 people, including Nobel prizewinners, directors of leading research institutions, scientific academies and medical societies, notably the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Institute of Medicine, Max Planck institutes, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Royal Society of London, the AIDS Society of India and the National Institute of Virology in South Africa. In addition, thousands of individual scientists and doctors have signed, including many from the countries bearing the greatest burden of the epidemic. Signatories are of MD, PhD level or equivalent, although scientists working for commercial companies were asked not to sign.

The Durban Declaration has an organizing committee of over 250 members from over 50 countries. The list of signatories up to 29 June can be found on Nature's website as Supplementary Information (, and an up-to-date list can be found at .

HIV causes AIDS. Curbing the spread of this virus must remain the first step towards eliminating this devastating disease.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, June 2000 (UNAIDS, Geneva, 2000).

  2. 2.

    , , & AIDS as a zoonosis: scientific and public health implications. Science 287, 607–614 ( 2000).

  3. 3.

    & Duesberg, HIV and AIDS. Nature 345, 659–660 ( 1990).

  4. 4.

    NIAID HIV as the Cause of AIDS

  5. 5.

    & HIV causes AIDS: Koch's postulates fulfilled. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 8, 613– 618 (1996).

  6. 6.

    et al. Mortality before and after HIV infection in the complete UK population of haemophiliacs. Nature 377, 79–82 (1995).

  7. 7.

    et al. Mortality associated with HIV-1 infection over five years in a rural Ugandan population: cohort study. Br. Med. J. 315, 767–771 (1997).

  8. 8.

    et al. Maternal viral load, zidovudine treatment, and the risk of transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 from mother to infant . N. Engl. J. Med. 335, 1678– 1680 (1996).

  9. 9.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1999 11, 1– 44 (1999).

  10. 10.

    et al. Viremia and AIDS in rhesus macaques after intramuscular inoculation of plasmid DNA encoding full-length SIVmac239. AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses 15, 445–450 ( 1999).

  11. 11.

    et al. Antibodies against human herpesvirus 8 in black South African patients with cancer. N. Engl. J. Med. 340, 1863–1871 (1999).

  12. 12.

    et al. Short course zidovudine for perinatal HIV-1 transmission in Bangkok Thailand: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 353, 773–780 (1999).

  13. 13.

    et al. Intrapartum and neonatal single-dose nevirapine compared with zidovudine for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 in Kampala, Uganda: HIVNET 012 randomised trial. Lancet 354, 795–802 (1999).

Download references

Author information



  1. Search for in:

Supplementary information

Word documents

  1. 1.


  2. 2.


About this article

Publication history



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing