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The Durban Declaration


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.

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Figure 1: Adults and children estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS, together with the proportion of adults infected by HIV across the world (UNAIDS, June 2000).


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The Durban Declaration. Nature 406, 15–16 (2000).

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