Fact Check-Monkeypox is not the same as AIDS or ‘VAIDS’ caused by the COVID-19 vaccine

Social media users are claiming that the international outbreak of monkeypox is AIDS caused by the COVID-19 vaccine – or “vaccine-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome” (VAIDS).

Examples can be seen (here) and (here).

The text in one post reads: “You think this monkeypox thing is weird? Just wait until it starts getting really weird. This is just the start of it. The vaccinated have VAIDS and this is just the first symptom to show. It’s about to get a lot worse. We warned them…”


Reuters has previously debunked the claim that “VAIDS” exists at all, when social media users wrongly assured it was a dangerous side effect of COVID-19 vaccines (here).

The alleged syndrome has been mentioned in social media posts and online articles since at least December 2021. However, there is no such thing as a “vaccine-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome” or “VAIDS, experts have told Reuters.

“There is no phenomenon that I know of ‘Vaccine-induced immunodeficiency syndrome.’ It is not a real syndrome,” Donna Farber, chief of the Division of Surgical Sciences and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University, told Reuters via email in February.

Likewise, Stephen Gluckman, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the medical director of Penn Global Medicine, told Reuters “VAIDS” is “absolutely not” a real condition.

Gluckman said there is no evidence of immunodeficiency being related to COVID-19 vaccines.


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or “AIDS” is a chronic condition that interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease (here).

It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (here .

Symptoms are flu-like, with possible fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and mouth ulcers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (here) .

Claims that there are cases of AIDS caused by COVID-19 vaccination are unfounded (here) (here) (here) (here).

Monkeypox is a different virus to HIV.

It is related to smallpox, but is usually milder, particularly the West African strain of the virus that was identified in a U.S. case, which has a fatality rate of around 1%. It can cause symptoms including fever, aches and presents with a distinctive bumpy rash (here).

As of May 21, 2022, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. (here)

There have been other monkeypox outbreaks in the past before the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. The WHO says (here) that a monkeypox outbreak has been happening in Nigeria since 2017 with 218 cases. Since 1970, outbreaks have been reported in nine other countries in central and western Africa.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain (here) that the virus was discovered in 1958 during two outbreaks in colonies of monkeys that were kept for research.


False. Monkeypox is not HIV or AIDS as social media posts claim and there is no evidence that “vaccine-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome” (VAIDS) is a real phenomenon.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .