Illustration: A. Canamucio

The 13th International AIDS Conference opened with a rousing call to "Break the Silence." Individuals, communities, and governments were implored to engage openly in dialogues on HIV and AIDS. Looming in the background was a hastily crafted Durban Declaration [DD] asserting, without proof, that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS.1 This factually is incorrect.2 Scientists, including an "AIDS-industrial complex," now are challenged to break all silence, end all blaming, and expose the ongoing denial of important scientific principles. Arrogance, smugness, and internecine acts must cease. Improved scholarship, especially regarding "slow virology," is essential. Truth and reconciliation are needed, along with moral leadership of the sort exhibited by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela after apartheid ended in South Africa. Although challenging to implement, moral leadership must address costs to the infected, affected, and the infirm, and the consequences of the DD and "dissident"...

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