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In nearly 90,000 blood specimens obtained from 26 US hospitals where each specimen was meticulously selected to avoid testing anyone with even a meagre risk of developing AIDS, the HIV positive rate at some hospitals was as high as 21.7% in men and 7.8% of women aged 25-44 years. That's the age that most adults develop AIDS.

In terms of a retrovirus which in the US in 1990 was, and still is, largely restricted to certain identifiable groups, and predominantly men, these data make no sense. Why are the rates so high in no risk individuals? Why are a third in women while AIDS is practically a male dominated disease? But these data do make sense in terms of antibodies which aren't HIV reacting in this test because patients in hospitals are sick and have lots of reasons to develop antibodies.

In our view, these data represent the authentic explanation for a positive HIV test in Africa. That is, being sick from a large variety of causes which are not retroviral. The only differences between the US and Africa is that in America diseases are not so prevalent while hospitals are.