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Flawed theory retracted

The idea that HIV may not be the cause of AIDS was suggested in the 1990s by biologist Peter Duesberg, from the University of California, Berkeley, in the USA, but completely discredited when drugs were created that prevented replication of the virus and eliminated the symptoms of the syndrome. In 2014, the scientific journal Frontiers in Public Health published an article by Patricia Goodson of Texas A&M University, which outlined the history of Duesberg’s hypothesis and again cast doubt on the scientific consensus of the cause of AIDS. The article was criticized, but the editors of the journal decided not to retract it. They reclassified it as an opinion piece and published the critical reviews.

Five years later, the article was finally retracted. The journal’s new editor, Paolo Vineis, from Imperial College London, considered the approach taken by his predecessors inefficient. While Goodson’s text has been viewed more than 90,000 times, critical comments have sparked less interest, with just 20,000 views. At the same time, the article continued to be shared on social networks as evidence of the marginal theory’s credibility. “The continued attention that this article garners presents a potential public health risk by lending credibility to refuted claims that place doubt on the HIV causation of AIDS,” the publication said.