Letter to the Editor: More Awareness, More Cases

AIDS and Lyme Denial

To the Editor,

On June 4, the New York Times published an op-ed piece by Moore and Nattrass lambasting the “myth” that human immunodeficency virus (HIV) infection is not the cause of AIDS. On June 9, the Times published a letter by Wormser and Dattwyler lambasting the “myth” that bacterial infection with Borrelia burgdorferi is the cause of chronic Lyme disease.

The irony in these juxtaposed “myths” is readily apparent: while few scientists deny the role of HIV, one of the most invasive and elusive viruses known to man, in the immunologically devastating evolution of AIDS, Lyme denialists like Wormser and Dattwyler continue to trivialize the role of Borrelia burgdorferi, one of the most invasive and elusive bacteria known to man, in the functionally devastating condition known as chronic Lyme disease.

As long as Lyme denialists maintain their stranglehold on Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment, the fate of patients with chronic Lyme disease will remain bleak, just as the fate of AIDS patients remains bleak in places where AIDS denialists have convinced people that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

Raphael B. Stricker, MD
International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
P.O. Box 341461
Bethesda, MD 20827-1461