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Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus

Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus

Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) is a retrovirus which infects goats and cross-reacts immunologically with HIV,[1] due to being from the same family of viruses.[2] CAEV cannot be transmitted to humans, including through the consumption of milk from an infected goat.[3] There is no evidence that CAEV can cure HIV in humans.[2][4]

Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus
Virus classification
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
Kingdom: Pararnavirae
Phylum: Artverviricota
Class: Revtraviricetes
Order: Ortervirales
Family: Retroviridae
Genus: Lentivirus
Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus

CAEV is commonly transferred within the goat species by ingestion of colostrum or milk from an infected goat, and to a less extent, cross species CAEV transfer by sheep is possible.[3][5]


CAEV adversely affects the immune system of its host, causing a disease known as caprine arthritis encephalitis. Common symptoms resulting from CAEV infection include arthritis, pneumonia, indurative mastitis, and encephalitis. One of the first and most common signs of CAEV infection is weight loss. However, many goats will not show any symptoms. Goats that do show symptoms may display swollen knee or carpal joints, lose body condition, and develop a rough hair coat. Pregnant and nursing goats will display a "hard udder", which is firm and swollen, and produce very little milk.[3]

Society and Culture

After Charlie Sheen was infected with HIV, he sought alternative treatments from Dr. Sam Chachoua, who does not have a license to practice medicine in the United States. He told Sheen to stop taking his anti-retroviral medications, despite the dangers. Chachoua illegally administered his own treatment, which included goat's milk from an area in Mexico where many goats are infected with CAEV. Chachoua claimed that Sheen's therapeutic side effects disappeared after he administered his "alternative" therapy, and that Sheen became "HIV-negative".[2] Later tests found that Sheen was still HIV-positive.[4]


  1. Tesoro-Cruz E, Hernández-González R, Kretschmer-Schmid R, Aguilar-Setién A (2003). "Cross-reactivity between caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus and type 1 human immunodeficiency virus". Arch. Med. Res. 34 (5): 362–6. doi:10.1016/j.arcmed.2003.08.001. PMID 14602501.
  2. "What Charlie Sheen Can Teach Us About Quack Doctors". Healthline. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  3. "APHIS info sheet: Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. May 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  4. "Charlie Sheen Blasts Doctor Who Claims to Have Cured Him of HIV and Even Injected Himself with Star's Blood". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
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