In my letter to Max Essex of April 24, 1985 which I copied to you, I asked to be notified if your committee elected to address
the nomenclature of HTLV-III/LAV. Jay Levy indicated to me that you do not intend to undertake this step.
I would still argue that your committee would best be advised to let common usage decide the issue unless some agreement could
have been reached between proponents of HTLV-III and LAV. With the apparent inability to resolve parentage of the prototype
virus as evidenced by the Pasteur-NCI lawsuit, such as an agreement seems unlikely. Besides, the likely compromise of HTLV-III/LAV
is at best, only a temporary solution.
There is an obvious name that most people already accept that is part of the public lexicon, AIDS virus. Whether it becomes
human AIDS virus or AIDS virus is relatively unimportant. There is no compelling clinical or classification reason not to
use this name. Particularly, its common usage will make it understandable to the public and will eventually assist it in
overcoming the denial syndrome that has hampered the public's acceptance of the seriousness of the current problem. Also,
earlier perceptions concerning infection versus disease may be addressed even better without the confusion of the clinical
disease and the virus having different names.
Finally, the use of AIDS virus may or may not achieve widespread acceptance in this hemisphere but in many parts of the world
it would be SIDA virus or something else. However, I am a proponent of having nomenclature reflect actual use and the recommendations
of your committee would be very influential in directing that use.
Again, if your committee elects to readdress retrovirus classification, please advise me. Frankly, I would have reservations
that the committee as currently formulated should undertake such a change. For the time being, HTLV-I asa type-C oncornavirinae
and AIDS virus as a lentivirinae seems enough.