A May 22 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a screenshot of a tweet that claims a government agency reported a massive increase in certain illnesses after the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced.
"BREAKING: AIDS-associated diseases and cancers have increased by 338x since the rollout of the (COVID-19 vaccine), according to the CDC and foreign government bodies," reads the tweet.
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The post was liked more than 1,000 times in two days. The original tweet has been retweeted more than 3,000 times.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention never reported such an increase and said it hasn't found a link between the COVID-19 vaccines and HIV or cancer. An expert told USA TODAY there is no evidence to support the claim. The website that originally made the claim used numbers from an unverified database that allows anyone to submit reports of adverse vaccine side effects.
The claim appears to have originated on a website called "The Expose," which has previously published vaccine-related misinformation. The headline of an article from May 11 reads, "COVID Vaccine roll-out caused 338x increase in AIDS-associated Diseases & Cancers in 2021 says CDC."
The CDC, though, says that claim isn't accurate.
"To date, CDC has not detected any unusual or unexpected patterns for HIV or AIDS-associated diseases and cancers following immunization that would indicate that COVID vaccines are causing or contributing to these conditions," CDC spokesperson Scott Pauley told Lead Stories.
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
The agency's website says there is no association between the COVID-19 vaccines and risk of HIV, the disease that can lead to AIDS. It also states that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people who have HIV, and it points out that people with HIV were included in vaccine clinical trials.
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Donald Alcendor, an associate professor of cancer biology at Meharry Medical College, previously told USA TODAY there is no link between the COVID-19 vaccines and HIV or cancer.
"More than 6 billion people have received the COVID-19 vaccines around the world, and the incidence (of) cancer and HIV transmission has not been reported as a causal link to the vaccines," he said.
The number of new HIV infections worldwide fell by more than 3% between 2020 and 2021, according to UNAIDS, an agency that describes itself as "leading the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030."
The article published by "The Expose" cites numbers from the Vaccines Adverse Event Reporting System, a government database that contains unverified reports of adverse effects possibly related to vaccines.
The database's website says anyone can submit a report, including the general public, and it has a disclaimer that states, “VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental or unverifiable. Reports to VAERS can also be biased. As a result, there are limitations on how the data can be used scientifically."
USA TODAY reached out to the Instagram user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response. The Twitter user could not be reached.
PolitiFact also debunked the claim.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: False claim CDC reported spike in HIV-related diseases after COVID-19 vaccines | Fact check2023-05-25T21:45:00Z dg43tfdfdgfd