Click here to go back.
AIDS is believed to be caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV weakens the immune system, leaving the afflicted person vulnerable to opportunistic infections--illnesses such as pneumonia, which people with healthy immune systems can recover from, but progress unchecked in those with impaired immune systems.
There are different strains of HIV; HIV-1 is the strain believed to be responsible for most cases of AIDS and therefore the strain studied most. This theory guides most AIDS research into HIV experiments on animals. Operating under this theory, the animal model remains sorely lacking in relevance and accuracy: HIV attacks on the cellular level, where distinctions between species are crucially apparent.
After more than 20 years of aggressively investigating AIDS through animal experimentation, the Office of Aids Research, under the NIH admits, We still do not have a clear understanding of major aspects of the interaction of HIV with the infected individual, the nature of the immune response to the virus, how the virus establishes infection and spreads throughout the body, and its mechanisms of pathogenesis.1
Not surprisingly, the animal model has failed us. Yet our government and AIDS researchers see this failure as a need for more research funds for more animal experiments. Since the animal model doesnt work, why continue to use it?
1. Office of AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health, "Fiscal year 2004 Plan for Research," (2003).