Yes. It is about time to move on. 5 May 2003
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso

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Re: Yes. It is about time to move on.

Yes. It is about time to move on

In his rapid response “Time to Put Padian to Bed Before Moving on to Other Authors Who Have Been Misrepresented” (4 May 2003), Tony Floyd again misleads. He wrote: “The Padian paper (available on line here) does not strive to vigorously prove heterosexual transmission. That goal is not stated ANYWHERE in the abstract or in the full text version.” Note that “Padian paper” is NOT the same as “Padian study”. In her study, Padian published several papers (not only just one paper) and presented her data at several meetings. She did not have to state that she did “strive to vigorously prove heterosexual transmission”. It is obvious from her lengthy study that her aim was to prove heterosexual transmission. Tony wrote: “Nor does it prove heterosexual transmission, nor does it prove or disprove that life itself is sexually transmitted. It was designed to do none of these.” We are glad that Tony agrees with us that the Padian study does not prove heterosexual transmission. If it was not designed to prove heterosexual transmission then what was Padian doing in what she herself called “the largest and longest study of heterosexual transmission of HIV in the United States”(1)?

In his rapid response “Does Sexual intercourse result in pregnancy?” (2 May 2003), Peter Flegg wrote: “I realise that one of the main cornerstones in their argument is the finding by Nancy Padian that HIV transmission occurred infrequently in heterosexual couples (the dissidents conveniently ignore other studies showing higher transmission rates, or refuse to acknowledge the reasons as to why the rate of transmission was low in Padian's study).” As Tony acknowledges, the Padian study did not prove infrequent or low heterosexual transmission. It does not “prove heterosexual transmission”.

We agree to its “time to put Padian to bed” and for Tony Floyd and Peter Flegg to draw our attention to “other studies showing higher transmission rates”. However, let us draw their attention once again to the fact that for such studies to be accepted as scientific proof for heterosexual transmission they must satisfy the following (as pointed out in our rapid response, 24 March 2003): · Be prospective · Use tests which have been proven to be specific · Have a statistically meaningful population · The results must be statistically significant and must exclude other possible routes of infection

References (1) Padian NS. Shiboski SC. Glass SO. Vittinghoff E. Heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in northern California: results from a ten-year study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 146(4):350-7, 1997.

Competing interests:   None declared