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The Harold Varmus Papers

Letter from Paul Volberding, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center to Harold Varmus pdf (69,581 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Paul Volberding, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center to Harold Varmus
Number of Image Pages:
1 (69,581 Bytes)
1985-09-11 (September 11, 1985)
Volberding, Paul
San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center
Varmus, Harold
Original Repository: University of California, San Francisco. Archives and Special Collections. Harold E. Varmus Papers
Reproduced with permission of Paul Volberding.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Terminology as Topic
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Exhibit Category:
AIDS and HIV: Science, Politics, and Controversy, 1981-1993
Box Number: 2
Folder Number: 14
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: UCSF Collections
SubSeries: Collection Number MSS 88-47
SubSubSeries: Human Retrovirus Study Group, 1981-1987
Folder: HIV clinical opinions on the naming of the virus, 1985
September 11, 1985
Dear Harold,
I am replying to your letter of August 12th regarding the naming of the AIDS virus. As I have been gone for most of the interim on vacation, I assume that your deliberations are rapidly approaching some consensus opinion, but would like to offer my own observations nevertheless.
To begin with, I think the name of the virus must take into consideration the clear fact that the first isolation was performed and reported by the French. In addition, there is a growing realization that is now widespread that the AIDS virus is at best distantly related to a HTLV-I and II while much more closely related to members of the lentivirus family. For both of the above considerations, I clearly do not favor retaining the name HTLV-III for the AIDS virus. I am not personally concerned about including the "AIDS" in the name of the virus because I think that our experience has taught us that avoiding the term "AIDS" because of the stigma attached to the disease by the general public is only interpreted as a confirmation by us that AIDS is a fearful disease deserving statementization. Clearly, this should not be the message in anything we do. Rather, I think in the long run, we will gain by including the term "AIDS" in the name of the virus.
Beyond these observations, I don't think I have any novel suggestions for the virus name except that AIDS-associated retrovirus (AARV) might satisfy some of the above considerations.
Best wishes in your task. I assume whatever you do you won't gain friends by this procedure.
Paul Volberding, M.D.
Director, AIDS Activities
San Francisco General Hospital
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