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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
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Larry Kramer billed $19,000 annually for drugs “I never took”

April 14th, 2006

Andrew Sullivan joins him in setting a very bad example

Having been called out of order for crucifying the increasingly bewildered playwright Larry Kramer by a distinguished comment writer to the last post, we feel rather guilty at having to drive the nails in further, but after all, the self-serving arrogance of the misinformed exploiting the trust of the ignorant and vulnerable is the theme of this blog. (Click photos twice for maximum size)

At 71 Kramer is still the grand old activist hero of the gay community when it comes to HIV?AIDS, influential in media circles and a performer who can pack the great Cooper Union hall with hundreds of men so attentive that you can hear a condom packet drop as he declaims his poetically styled despair at their unwitting cooperation with the Bush administration in murdering each other with irresponsible partying.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY DEPT.

NOWHERE

New Yorker Issue of 2004-11-22

Posted 2004-11-15

Larry Kramer delivered a long and fiery speech at Cooper Union last Sunday night. That, of course, was nothing new. Kramer, the playwright who founded the activist group act up and was the signature voice of the age of aids, is famous for his fury: once, he and thousands of his supporters invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral during Mass; another time, they wrapped Jesse Helms’s house in a giant yellow condom. Over the years, they hounded pharmaceutical companies and the government into developing and providing drugs and treatments.

In the early days of aids, straight people disliked Kramer for his aggressive honesty and gays ridiculed him for what they saw as his prissiness about sex, but now, at sixty-nine, he seems to have outlived the animosity of both groups. He has also outlived almost all of his friends. “It’s funny,’’ the playwright Tony Kushner said recently. “These days, audiences are fond of Larry. They seem wistful. Can you imagine that? Being wistful about Larry?”

Kramer surprises people who have seen him screeching on television or have read one of his radioactive e-mails. In conversation, he tends to speak so softly that one has to lean in to hear him. At Cooper Union, Kramer wore his usual uniform: overalls and a sweater with an American flag on it, over a red turtleneck. He looked stooped, old. He spoke for more than an hour, at the same lectern that Abraham Lincoln (who Kramer ceaselessly insists was gay) used when he addressed New Yorkers, in 1860. On Sunday night, the Great Hall was full; hundreds of people were turned away.

The speech, entitled “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” began with a dire assessment of the Presidential election. “I hope we all realize that, as of November 2nd, gay rights are officially dead,’’ Kramer said. “And that from here on we are going to be led even closer to the guillotine. Almost sixty million people whom we live and work with every day think we are immoral. ‘Moral values’ was at the top of many lists of why people supported George Bush. Not Iraq. Not the economy. Not terrorism. ‘Moral values.’ In case you need a translation, that means us.’’

But Kramer has never been harder on others than he has been on homosexuals themselves. It is the main reason that he has occasionally been dismissed as a febrile modern version of Cotton Mather. “I know many people look to me for answers,” he went on. “Perhaps that is why many of you are here. You want answers? We’re living in pig shit, and it’s up to each one of us to figure out how to get out of it.” By pig shit, he meant, more or less, a heedless life of unprotected sex and crystal-meth addiction. “It takes hard work to behave like an adult,” he continued. “It takes discipline. You want it to be simple. It isn’t simple. Yes, it is. Grow up. Behave responsibly. Fight for your rights. Take care of yourself and each other. These are the answers. It takes courage to live.”

He went on, “Does it occur to you that we brought this plague of aids upon ourselves? I know I am getting into dangerous waters here, but it is time. With the cabal breathing even more murderously down our backs, it is time. And you are still doing it: you are still murdering each other. . . . From the very first moment we were told, in 1981, that the suspected cause was a virus, gay men have refused to accept responsibility for choosing not to listen, and, starting in 1984, when we were told it definitely was a virus, this behavior turned murderous.”

A few weeks earlier, there had been a tribute to Kramer at the 92nd Street Y, produced by Kushner. On that evening, actors read from Kramer’s novel “Faggots,”from his plays “The Normal Heart” and “The Destiny of Me,” and from other works, including his prescient 1983 essay “1,112 and Counting,’’ in which he asked, incredulously, how many more people would have to die before gays got serious about aids. That was, roughly, seventy million infections ago.

“I guess if you live long enough people give up and accept you,’’ Kramer said that night, with something approaching giddiness. “I got invited to the National Cancer Institute, to a conference that is so high-level I don’t even understand the topics. And Harvard just called.”

Kramer understands, however, that acceptance doesn’t mean much, in the scheme of things, since it seems not to extend to gay people in general. “Nobody listens to us,” Kramer said at Cooper Union. “There is not a single person in Washington who will get us or give us anything but shit and more shit. I’m sorry. This is where we are now. Nowhere.”

COMMENT

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY DEPT.

— Michael Specter

Meanwhile Tony Fauci, that he once called a “murderer”, is now his savior and best friend since he arranged for Larry to get a new liver, at a time when HIV-positive patients were typically low priority candidates for these organ transplants.

All Larry’s crowd-swaying rhetoric and newfound fondness for Tony Fauci is precariously predicated on one tragically questionable premise, however, and that is that the decline in gay men’s immunity to the impressive range of chemical and biological assaults on their bodies to which they are exposed in heavy partying is not due to the alien substances and internal flora and fauna themselves but to a negligible wisp of RNA whose genetic machinery is so limited that it cannot even reproduce without the help of a healthy cell.

That wisp is HIV, a 9 kilobase retrovirus, an otherwise inert entity belonging to a species of virus which has never been proven to cause any harm to any person (pace Robert Gallo and his not so leukemic HTLV-1 for which the US blood banks test blood for his profit and our supposed security, although most of the population in Japan in a certain large region have it in their veins with nil effect on their leukemia rate – Hi Bob!) despite billions being spent on testing them in the Nixon War on Cancer in the vain hope that such retroviruses might be a cause of human cancer, since one and only one of the species is able with a little encouragement to cause a tumor in chickens, which is hardly a cell killing activity.

Faced with long and alien words like ‘retrovirus’, however, it’s possibly understandable that the artistic temperament of key players in HIV?AIDS gay politics such as Larry and the ebullient Brit Andrew Sullivan should be short circuited into a kind of mental paralysis which leaves them the passive recipients of whatever their more authoritative connections want to tell them.

Kramer has paid no attention even to members of ACT-UP the organization he founded when they changed their tune. A typically presumptuous 2000 piece by a reporter in POZ, always resolutely head-in-the-sand when it comes to HIV?AIDS, contains this quote:

But if the ((ACTUP/SF HIV rejecting)) members see themselves as unheeded, others see them as unhinged, and increasingly a public health menace. “To maintain that AIDS is not caused by HIV, to disrupt government and other official hearings to argue that money should not be voted for AIDS research and patient aid, to utilize vicious smear campaigns and to threaten legitimate activists with physical harm is beyond any intelligent comprehension,” said ACT UP founder Larry Kramer in a widely circulated e-mail in June. “Truly, in the face of our worldwide plague, such actions can only be construed as crazy”

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“Larry’s research method into whatever is really going on in HIV?AIDS, scientifically and medically, consists of a) palling around with Tony Fauci of NIAID and b) forwarding copies of articles by Celia Farber to his well placed media and activist friends and asking what they think of them.”

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Andrew Sullivan sideswipes Harper’s

For it now seems clear that it is not just Larry whose homework on the rationale of HIV?AIDS has been neglected in favor of partying, politicking, playwriting, appearing on television and on panels and performing rhetorically on the eternal theme “They all want to murder us”. Though very different in stance Sullivan’s political instincts have led him to make the same knee-jerk responses as Kramer when he hears that HIV is questioned.

Thus in his “Daily Dish” blog two weeks ago, ironically on April 1, he reveals that it goes without saying that HIV causes AIDS and to think otherwise is a superstition peddled by magazines “like Harper’s”, whatever that phrase means (Saturday, April 1, 2006 Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish – Elites and Medicine 1 Apr 2006 02:01 pm:

One of the most persistent sub-currents out there among people with HIV and AIDS is superstition, or the notion that all drugs are somehow poisonous, or that homeopathic quackery can replace actual science, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and so on. This is particularly widespread among some gays and African-Americans, some of the populations most at risk. You have magazines like Harper’s giving credence to “theories” that HIV is unrelated to AIDS – in 2006!

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Elites and Medicine

01 Apr 2006 02:01 pm

A reader makes a good point:

“One interesting case study for elitism is medicine. Your familiarity is through experience with HIV; mine, cancer. The point though is the same. There was at first an unresponsive God-like community that made unassailable pronouncements about the science and medicine. Correctly this was rebelled against. But now we have charlatans and healers who have no basis, except anecdotes if that, for their claims. And substantial members of the public believe them over the science. Part of this is because for cases like AIDS and cancer, sometimes science hasn’t an answer yet. Nonetheless, the “everyone’s opinion is equal” attitude is now as destructive as the God-like elitism. Somehow we need a happy medium – acknowledging expertise while demanding that it explain itself. The anti-knowledge forces are not just religious fundamentalists; read some of the anti-medicine nonsense out there.”

I have to agree. One of the most persistent sub-currents out there among people with HIV and AIDS is superstition, or the notion that all drugs are somehow poisonous, or that homoepathic quackery can replace actual science, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and so on. This is particularly widespread among some gays and African-Americans, some of the populations most at risk. You have magazines like Harper’s giving credence to “theories” that HIV is unrelated to AIDS – in 2006! In the early days, you had people like Larry Kramer telling everyone that AZT was poison, despite the fact that it was then and remains today a critical component of many effective anti-HIV cocktails (it was disastrous only as over-dosed mono-therapy). Every day, I get emails telling me to try aspirin or St John’s Wort for HIV. The right response, I think, is not to take what the science establishment says on faith – let alone the public health establishment. The answer is to try and understand the science as best you can, to ask the right questions, to keep asking, to get second opinions. There is an alternative between fundamentalism and relativism, between authority and nihilism. That alternative is curious and empirical skepticism, which must, of course, respect those whose knowledge of any particular subject is inevitably far deeper than our own. That kind of skepticism is important not only for a patient with a life-threatening disease, but also for liberal democracy and liberal learning. We need to recover it.

To this cheeky dismissal of his betters, one can only say, if Andrew is truly interested in demonstrating empirical skepticism perhaps he should make a supreme effort to heave himself out of his pundit’s armchair and hit PubMed on his desktop to find out the difference between superstition and “actual science” as peer-reviewed in leading journals, and the difference between “theories” and professional scientific reviews of those “theories”, if only for his own benefit, since he seems to be so cheerfully taking a standard range of HAART drugs known to have rather unpleasant effects on the body, though not in his case, he tells us.

I’ve been on the new meds for a couple of months now and after a week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can speak of. My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic mililiter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the strength of your immune system – has gone back into its normal range. Thank God for the evil pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of this period is written, I have a feeling we will look back with astonishment as we recognize that advances in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were arguably one of the most significant developments of this era. And yet the people who pioneered these breakthroughs were … demonized and attacked. Baffling and bizarre. I’m merely grateful the attacks haven’t stopped the research progress.

Here’s the whole post:

From andrewsullivan.com Daily Dish September 19 2005:

BACK FROM THE DOC: Just an HIV update. I’ve been on

the new meds for a couple of months now and after a

week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can

speak of. My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in

my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic

milliliter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days

on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of

121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50

at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the

strength of your immune system – has gone back into

its normal range. Thank God for the evil

pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of

this period is written, I have a feeling we will look

back with astonishment as we recognize that advances

in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were

arguably one of the most significant developments of

this era. And yet the people who pioneered these

breakthroughs were … demonized and attacked.

Baffling and bizarre. I’m merely grateful the attacks

haven’t stopped the research progress. They’ve merely

slowed it. Oh, and I talked my doc into giving me a

pre-emptive treatment of Tamiflu. I won’t use it,

unless the birdshit hits the fan. But I’ll have it

just in case. I’m not relying on Mr Bush. Fool me once

All very impressive, with those specific numbers.

“My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic milliliter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the strength of your immune system – has gone back into its normal range.”

There is something very persuasive about quantitities one can measure so precisely. Gauging precisely with instruments is the essence of good science, after all. You get away from human speculation and nail down the facts with cold, objective measurement.

But maybe Andrew should read Peter Duesberg’s letter in Nature on May 19, 1995 (page 197) and mathematician Frank Bulanouckas’s even more damning letter that follows it and see that all these “virus particles” are not measured accurately by PCR (they cannot be, as Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel for inventing PCR, has said) and probably exceed by as much as 60,000 fold the real count of virus in his blood, so it is not as impressive as readers may think.

Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint diln. culture.

That’s from the abstract of the 1993 paper Duesberg quoted in his letter to Nature, which letter read as follows – we quote it in full since it is a classic statement which illuminates the shell game perpetrated by the HIV wide boys with Maddox acting as the muscle:

“HIV an illusion”

Letter from Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy, Nature 375: 197, 18 May 1995

SIR-In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited “Duesberg and his associates” to comment on the “HIV-1 dynamics” papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers that we believed met the criteria of “not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand” that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge.

Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally “gone over it with a fine-tooth comb” to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them.

Readers of Nature who are interested in these questions, and feel that they do not need to be protected by Maddox from our ill-conceived logic, can find the complete text of our commentary in the monograph supplement to the most recent issue of Genetica4. Here we would point out only that the central claim of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers-that 100,000 HIV virions per ml plasma can be detected in AIDS patients with various nucleic-acid amplification assays is misleading. The senior author of the Wei et al. paper has previously claimed that the PCR method they used overestimates by at least 60,000 times the real titer of infectious HIV5: 100,000/60,000 is 1.7 infectious HIVs per ml, hardly the “virological mayhem” alluded to by Wain-Hobson.6 Further, Ho and a different group of collaborators have just shown7 that more than 10,000 “plasma virions,” detected by the branched-DNA amplification assay used in their Nature paper, correspond to less than one (!) infectious virus per ml. And infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen.

Finally, in view of Wain-Hobson’s statement6 that “the concordance of their [Wei and Ho’s] data is remarkable,” note that Loveday et al.8 report the use of a PCR-based assay and find only 200 HIV “virion RNAs” per ml of serum of AIDS patients-1,000 times less than Ho and Wei. So much for the “remarkable concordance.”

Peter Duesberg. Harvey Bialy.

“HIV an illusion”

Letter from Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy, Nature 375: 197, 18 May 1995

SIR-In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited “Duesberg and his associates” to comment on the “HIV-1 dynamics” papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers that we believed met the criteria of “not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand” that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge.

Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally “gone over it with a fine-tooth comb” to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them.

Readers of Nature who are interested in these questions, and feel that they do not need to be protected by Maddox from our ill-conceived logic, can find the complete text of our commentary in the monograph supplement to the most recent issue of Genetica4. Here we would point out only that the central claim of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers-that 105 HIV virions per ml plasma can be detected in AIDS patients with various nucleic-acid amplification assays is misleading. The senior author of the Wei et al. paper has previously claimed that the PCR method they used overestimates by at least 60,000 times the real titer of infectious HIV5: 100,000/60,000 is 1.7 infectious HIVs per ml, hardly the “virological mayhem” alluded to by Wain-Hobson.6 Further, Ho and a different group of collaborators have just shown7 that more than 10,000 “plasma virions,” detected by the branched-DNA amplification assay used in their Nature paper, correspond to less than one (!) infectious virus per ml. And infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen.

Finally, in view of Wain-Hobson’s statement6 that “the concordance of their [Wei and Ho’s] data is remarkable,” note that Loveday et al.8 report the use of a PCR-based assay and find only 200 HIV “virion RNAs” per ml of serum of AIDS patients-1,000 times less than Ho and Wei. So much for the “remarkable concordance.”

Peter Duesberg

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology,

University of California,

Berkeley, California 94720, USA

Harvey Bialy

Bio/Technology, New York, New York 10010, USA

Notes and References

1. Maddox, J. Nature 373, 189 (1995).

2. Ho, D. D. et al. Nature 373, 123-126 (1995).

3. Wei. X. et al. Nature 373, 117-122 (1995).

4. Duesberg, P. & Bialy, H. Genetica Suppl. (in the press).

5. Piatak, M. et al. Science 259. 1749-1754 (1993).

6. Wain-Hobson, S. Nature 373, 102 (1995).

7. Cao, Y. et al. New Engl. J. Med. 332, 201-208 (1995).

8. Loveday, C. et al. Lancet 345, 820-824 (1995).

Here is the full abstract from Science in 2000:

High levels of HIV-1 in plasma during all stages of infection determined by competitive PCR

Piatak, M., Jr.; Saag, M. S.; Yang, L. C.; Clark, S. J.; Kappes, J. C.; Luk, K. C.; Hahn, B. H.; Shaw, G. M.; Lifson, J. D.

Science (Washington, DC, United States) (1993), 259(5102), 1749-54 CODEN: SCIEAS; ISSN: 0036-8075. English.

Quant. competitive polymerase chain reaction (QC-PCR) methods were used to quantify virion-associated human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) RNA in plasma from 66 patients with Centers for Disease Control stage I to IVC1 infection. HIV-1 RNA, ranging from 100 to nearly 22,000,000 copies per mL of plasma (corresponding to 50 to 11,000,000 virions per mL), was readily quantified in all subjects, was significantly associated with disease stage and CD4+ T cell counts, and decreased by as much as 235-fold with resolution of primary infection or institution of antiretroviral therapy. Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint diln. culture. Quantitation of HIV-1 in plasma by QC-PCR may be useful in assessing the efficacy of antiretroviral agents, especially in early stage disease when conventional viral markers are often neg.

Ask-John – the time saving modern approach to scientific fact checking

But it is probably hopeless to suggest further reading of any kind for Andrew. It is pretty clear from the results that his sources for a second medical opinion on his trusted doctor’s advice are the same as Larry’s. That is to say, Larry’s research method into whatever is really going on in HIV?AIDS, scientifically and medically, which consists of a) palling around with Tony Fauci of NIAID and b) forwarding copies of articles by Celia Farber to his well placed media and activist friends and asking what they think of them.

The main problem with this approach is that it is circular ie the friends and colleagues consulted typically follow the same research procedure themselves: when in doubt Ask John. Heck, why not? The Ask-John method is how most scientists double check their understanding of HIV?AIDS, according to our own interviewing. When they see that the cause of AIDS has been challenged by Peter Duesberg in a top peer reviewed journal such as Cancer Research or the Proceedings of the National Academy, they do not read the article concerned. Instead, they mention it to John, their colleague in the field of HIV?AIDS, and John reassures them that there is nothing in it.

*************************************************

“There is no scientific question which has been settled so completely as the question of the cause of AIDS, the Ask-John method reveals. ”

*************************************************The reliability of the Ask-John approach to resolving cognitive dissonance in science was officially recognized in print more than a decade ago by none other than John Maddox, the editor of Nature, when he was provoked by the London Sunday Times running a huge series of articles in 1992 by science editor Neville Hodgkinson over several weekends reporting evidence that Duesberg was right when he reasoned that the chances of HIV being the cause of AIDS were smaller than a 9 kilobase wisp of RNA.

Maddox reacted swiftly to this suggestion that Nature had printed page upon page of HIV?AIDS papers based on a false premise by telling his readers that they need not buy the Sunday Times and look into the matter, he would let them know if there was anything worthwhile in the articles concerned. In other words, no need to read anything, just Ask John.

What is most reassuring to those who use the Ask-John method is the typically supreme confidence with which those they consult tell them what they need to know, eg that HIV causes AIDS, there is overwhelming evidence, that Duesberg is on the wrong track and there is absolutely no question about it. None at all. There is no scientific question which has been settled so completely as the question of the cause of AIDS, the Ask-John method reveals.

For example, only yesterday we asked the charming ex-editor of Scientific American, Jonathan Piel, whom we happened to run into quite by chance at a burial, whether he was aware of the challenge to HIV as the cause of AIDS. **************************************************

“If there is a less appealing topic in the whole of science and medicine, it is difficult to think of it.”

*****************************************************

Having moved on from science to other topics – his green eyed wife Madeleine runs two cable shows, one on a community issue and the other where she interviews people in science and the arts, but he told us he helps out only as a producer – Jonathan seemed to struggle to recall it but eventually allowed that he had heard something of the kind, but there was nothing in it. Nothing at all. Wait, we assured him, this was not quite the case, there definitely was something to it, according to the scientific literature. He grimaced momentarily as a frisson of cognitive dissonance hit his left frontal cortex, but in a second it resolved. No, he said decisively, evidently drawing on the results of Ask-several-Johns, that was quite wrong. Definitely nothing to it. Absolutely not.

Why people prefer to Ask John about the miseries of HIV?AIDS

Of course there is also a particular reason why Ask-John is the preferred method of researching questions about HIV?AIDS and its cause. Let’s face it, no one really likes to think too much about the whole unattractive field if they can help it. If there is a less appealing topic in the whole of science and medicine, it is difficult to think of it. The aesthetic drawbacks simply put a lot of people off. Explaining the scientific questions surrounding of HIV?AIDS would be a fascinating topic – the whole world misled!? surely not! – if it didn’t demand imagining the goriest details of human sexual activity, and the grimmest path of decline into the grave.

Certainly we find the whole subject area unappetizing for the most part, and admit quite frankly our only reason for pursuing HIV?AIDS is that it is the best example extant of how science can go very, very provably wrong, and a very important health paradigm can escape serious peer review for two decades even in a life or death matter. We believe a big reason that HIV?AIDS eludes scrutiny so successfully – it is as slippery as a naked Indian house burglar greased to evade capture – is that it is simply not dinner party conversation.

Opinion leader Larry’s dereliction of duty

But Larry is a leader of his community. The Ask John approach is an abdication of responsibility if you are a respected leader of the gay community in this life or death matter, certainly if you are aware of the serious professional challenge to the HIV?AIDS paradigm, as Larry has been from the first, since he is known to have been sent on request a copy of at least one of Duesberg’s early papers, and he is known to have followed Celia Farber’s columns in SPIN.

It is thus hard to sympathize with his evident disinclination over many years, to do any serious reading himself into the peer-reviewed, two decade long scientific challenge to his key assumption, the one peddled by the activist-friendly scientists, official and reporters who so zealously purvey the standard line in HIV?AIDS to the general public, especially when his own health is at stake, let alone the health and lives of his followers. Like the sensitive, thoughtful and street level columns of Celia Farber the twenty or so popular books on the topic are all very accessible, after all. Has he read any of them, apart from The Band Played On? They should have been his bedside reading, even if he can’t handle the Duesberg papers.

But sadly, it seems that Larry has just assumed all along that the scientific dispute is beyond him, although he has by his own account become a master of the complexities of which pills to take when.

Thus his response to being sent the latest cannonade fired by Duesberg into the side of the good ship HIV=AIDS, a vessel so many years becalmed in the doldrums of no cure, no vaccine, no explanation and still no hope of eventually avoiding death, was not promising. As mentioned Duesberg recently emailed him a pdf of his 2003 Journal of Biosciences paper. Larry’s response was a faint “It’s not quite within my ken, but I’ll try”.

He should try. Come on Larry, read it. OK, we admit that the chances of you being able to get through all 270 pages of the best recent briefing on the topic are small. We mean the book by Harvey Bialy, the uncompromisingly accurate and scientifically and socially precise account of the way scientists have really thought and behaved in HIV?AIDS and cancer research, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy an AIDS: The Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg” (North Atlantic Press 2004).

Bialy’s paperback is high quality, and parts are gossipy in a meaningful way, but it’s not for the science challenged. Larry tackling that might be too much like a tugboat trying to break through thick winter ice in Hudson Bay. Bialy’s clarity is as exact as Duesberg’s. But even with some familiarity with the scene it describes we had a hard time staying the course through every page of that scintillating but diamond hard jewel of science history and analysis, already saluted by some as a classic of its kind. A pity really since it is the one book that slows down the scientific shell game to slow motion for all to see.

But couldn’t lazy Larry have read and understood the gist of Peter Duesberg’s writings over the years, especially when his own life was at stake? Did he even try to? As an artist he would have appreciated the finesse and elegance of Duesberg’s texts, which we daresay are among the finest scientific papers extant in that regard. If truth and beauty are related, Duesberg’s historic papers persuade with style as much as substance, so even those readers who do not have time to pore over every sentence can be convinced that there is something to what he argues.

Angry and hysterical people who are alarmed at the idea that these papers overturn their world view accuse us of hero-worship when we compliment Dusberg for his work, but we challenge them to a) read his papers and b) suggest any in science that rival them in academic and even literary quality. We know of none. Certainly any effort by Robert Gallo or Anthony Fauci or David Baltimore to rival them in clarity, elegance and power of analysis will be a long time acoming.

It is that mastery of the topic that makes it quite easy for a patient lay reader to follow the points of Duesberg’s definitive latest paper, which sends the main pillars of the paradigm flying like pins in a bowling alley. This is the 2003 Journal of Biosciences paper, Duesberg, P., Koehnlein, C. and Rasnick, D. (2003) The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy and Malnutrition.(J. Biosci. 28: 383-412), which can be downloaded as a pdf from that link, which is listed in the Scientific Papers page of Duesberg’s AIDS (non cancer) site. Anyone attentive can read the list of AIDS claims and facts which do not accord with established science or common sense and realize just how bereft of reason and evidence the current paradigm appears to be.

Not that there is anything new in it. The same points have been made for twenty years, with no good answers yet except evasion, obfuscation and ad hominem politics. Duesberg’s own very readable book, Inventing the AIDS Virus (Regnery, 1995) is still as valid as ever, and makes the political context clearer as well. Then there is a slew of other books, including one by Christine Maggiore, which can be understood by a child of twelve, What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong? There is really no excuse for anybody not to read this lay literature with attention, if they are diagnosed HIV positive.

Too late for Larry

But now, of course, it may be too late for Larry, who may well be on his last legs. After a liver transplant and years of deleterious drugs, it seems that Kramer is not in any shape to undertake such a challenge. That he didn’t do it in the past seems like wilful neglect, since he was after all the best known HIV?AIDS agitator in the gay community, which has lost so many lives, including many distinguished artists of all kinds. But now it seems that he has lost his grip completely, contradicting himself in his own account of whether he has taken drugs or not.

Certainly he misled Peter Duesberg in his recent attempt to get the lowdown from the scientist on his own particular case. As noted in the last post Larry told the distinguished Berkeley scientist that he had been diagnosed HIV positive in 1987 and had not taken any party drugs or anti-HIV drugs until the liver transplant he endured in 2001, when antiretrovirals were prescribed.

Here is what he actually wrote:

“would you explain something to me. i never used poppers. i never took drugs. i never had any chemo. i do not suffer and never have from malnutrition. i did not start taking anti-hiv drugs until 2001 when i got my liver transplant and they were required. i tested positive in 1987. you say these are the causes of hiv infection. i am hiv infected. i have and had many friends in the same boat, who simply do not fall into your criteria.”

As we pointed out this claim seemed rather inconsistent with his politics but he has said this before in public, for example, in his 2003 interview for the MIX Film Festival:

I never had to take any HIV drugs, until I got my liver. And the only reason I had to take it was because the transplant people insisted, to protect the liver. They wanted to keep HIV in check – whether it was out of check or not.- Larry Kramer Interview November 15, 2003, MIX -– The New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival Interview Number: 035 Interviewer: Sarah Schulman

Of course, this is perfectly possible, since there are other reasons why a liver can be so damaged that a transplant is undertaken, including alcoholism and Hepatitis B and C.

The liver, the largest organ in the body, is essential in keeping the body functioning properly. It removes or neutralizes poisons from the blood, produces immune agents to control infection, and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. It makes proteins that regulate blood clotting and produces bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. You cannot live without a functioning liver.

In cirrhosis of the liver, scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue, blocking the flow of blood through the organ and preventing it from working as it should. Cirrhosis is the twelfth leading cause of death by disease, killing about 26,000 people each year. Also, the cost of cirrhosis in terms of human suffering, hospital costs, and lost productivity is high.

Causes

Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States, chronic alcoholism and hepatitis C are the most common ones.

Alcoholic liver disease. To many people, cirrhosis of the liver is synonymous with chronic alcoholism, but in fact, alcoholism is only one of the causes. Alcoholic cirrhosis usually develops after more than a decade of heavy drinking. The amount of alcohol that can injure the liver varies greatly from person to person. In women, as few as two to three drinks per day have been linked with cirrhosis and in men, as few as three to four drinks per day. Alcohol seems to injure the liver by blocking the normal metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Chronic hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus ranks with alcohol as a major cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States. Infection with this virus causes inflammation of and low grade damage to the liver that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis.

Chronic hepatitis B and D. The hepatitis B virus is probably the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide, but it is less common in the United States and the Western world. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis. Hepatitis D is another virus that infects the liver, but only in people who already have hepatitis B.

Autoimmune hepatitis. This disease appears to be caused by the immune system attacking the liver and causing inflammation, damage, and eventually scarring and cirrhosis.

Inherited diseases. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, galactosemia, and glycogen storage diseases are among the inherited diseases that interfere with the way the liver produces, processes, and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances the body needs to function properly.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In NASH, fat builds up in the liver and eventually causes scar tissue. This type of hepatitis appears to be associated with diabetes, protein malnutrition, obesity, coronary artery disease, and treatment with corticosteroid medications.

Blocked bile ducts. When the ducts that carry bile out of the liver are blocked, bile backs up and damages liver tissue. In babies, blocked bile ducts are most commonly caused by biliary atresia, a disease in which the bile ducts are absent or injured. In adults, the most common cause is primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease in which the ducts become inflamed, blocked, and scarred. Secondary biliary cirrhosis can happen after gallbladder surgery if the ducts are inadvertently tied off or injured.

Drugs, toxins, and infections. Severe reactions to prescription drugs, prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, the parasitic infection schistosomiasis, and repeated bouts of heart failure with liver congestion can all lead to cirrhosis.[Top

But in fact we don’t have to look so far on the Web for the real causes of Larry’s liver deterioration into what his surgeon called a “really disgusting” condition. In the first place, he had Hepatitis B. Secondly, he was taking liver damaging HIV drugs, including AZT, according to his own words. His mind is apparently so muddled that this “I took no drugs” assertion is not only contradicted by statements he has made in the past, but in this 2003 interview, he makes a new and conflicting statement within a few pages.

So, which HIV meds are you taking? LK: I took AZT when my liver started going bad, when my platelets went down. AZT, unknown to a lot of people, raises your platelets, so I took it for that. And then, I took Epivir, 3TC – whatever it’s called – for the Hep-B. And, that’s all I took for a number of years. And then since the transplant started, I’ve taken a bunch of them. I took Viracept, until I became resistant to it. I took Sustiva, which I loathed, until fortunately I became resistant to it, because it drove me nuts. And now, I’m on something which is an amazing drug, because it has absolutely no side effects – it’s like taking aspirin – it’s called Reyataz. Only now, they’ve just discovered – Steve Miles, the UCLA AIDS man has just discovered that Reyataz interacting with the other drugs I take is bad for Hepatitis-B. We know so much now, and I have so many doctors that I correspond with. I mean, talk about patient empowerment. I brought it to a new art. I have six doctors who I e-mail everything about me, and I pester them all to death, and I take advantage of everything that I possibly can, to get the information I need – just what we advocated everybody to do

So it certainly looks as if Larry is good at pestering doctors, at least, for information. Why doesn’t he think of pestering scientists, or looking in the literature which is the ultimate source, or should be, of the doctor’s pescriptions.

Anyhow, it is clear that before his liver transplant, he was taking AZT. How early? Apparently not much earlier, but he was certainly taking some drugs before 1996, $19,000 worth of them annually, in fact. For in 1996 Larry himself was the author of a piece in the New York Times Magazine on July 14 in which he wrote:

The cost of my current drugs, which do not include a protease, already amounts to about $19,000 a year; this does not include visits to my doctor or the batteries of blood tests that he, and this virus, routinely require. And I am what’s called asymptomatic: I am not and have not been sick. A New York Times article earlier this year estimated that drugs for someone with full blown AIDS cost about $70,000 a year; in response, Tom Stoddard, New York University adjunct law professor and gay-rights advocate, wrote a letter to the editor saying that his cost $84,000 a year. Indeed, the seriously sick can find their annual drug cost exceeding $150,000.”

This statement was quoted by Duesberg in a subsequent papers. Thus in “The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus” by Peter Duesberg & David Rasnick in Genetica 104: 85-132, 1998 Duesberg referred to his drug use as follows:

Some insiders have described how the medical establishment urges HIV-positives to take countless anti-HIV drugs and how these drugs affect their lives. In “Checking in, my chart” the HIV-positive playwright Larry Kramer describes his own polypharmacy of 19 drugs composed by several AIDS luminaries such as Anthony Fauci, David Ho, Joseph Sonnabend, Alvin Friedman-Kien, and others: AZT, acyclovir [for genital herpes], Zantac, colchicine [mitosis blocker], propranolol, spironolactone, myphyston [for liver cirrhosis and hepatitis], Eucerin, Moisturel, Retin-A, mycolog, flucinonide, sulfacet-r, Nizoral [fungal dermatitis], Hisminal and Humbid [bronchitis], and Shaklee vitamins, zinc, NAC and a ‘turquoise stone which a fortune teller, many years ago, advised'(Kramer, 1994) – for an annual price tag of $19,000 (Kramer, 1996).

Nor is Kramer unaware that HIV drugs cause liver disease. In an interview on January 7, 2000 now at WebMD Transcript/AIDS Decade in Review With Larry Kramer, Richard Marlink MD and Parnessa Seele he was able to inform his MD listener that

“We’re finding out, for instance, that 50 per cent of people who take certain drugs die from liver disease rather than AIDS, because the drugs are so harsh on the liver. Norvbir has now been discovered to cause liver cancer in so many of the people who take it. I said to a friend of mine, David Sanford, who’s editor of the Wall Street Journal, who has AIDS, and who just feels so awful from all of these drugs, and I said ‘why don’t you get out there and say I feel awful from all these drugs?’ And he said, “well, because I’m alive.”

Thus the Ask-John method of confirmation at work, and an extraordinary quote from a Wall Street Journal editor, for whom, it seems, everything follows from the assumption that HIV is the danger being kept at bay, so everything suffered in this overriding cause is worth it, even, it appears, liver transplants and death. In other words, one’s own experience counts for nothing if authority says otherwise.

Elsewhere in print, months before his liver transplant, Larry also admitted to taking HIV meds prior to the transplant, and said that one them, 3TC (Epivir), “caused…the liver disease than now is requiring a new liver.” In other words, he conceded Duesberg’s point: that HIV drugs can cause the liver disease seen in HIV positive patients.

Apparently for years now poor Larry has not been in good shape and can forget what he said only a few moments earlier. Fair enough. That is no crime for a man of 71 who has endured whatever attacks the drugs have made upon his system throughout the years, let alone more recently the mother of all organ operations. And let’s give him credit for avoiding crystal meth and antiviral drugs as best he could. But one thing is clear. Over two decades Kramer has not been well qualified to lead his community in this vexed and deadly issue because he has not met his responsibility to double check the science thoroughly.

In the end, does the fault belong to the shepherd or the sheep?

That all these supposedly alert people have followed the Pied Pipers of ACTUP and the NIH into drug hell and eventually decline and death, and agitated for the privilege of doing so, is something that can surely be blamed on the sheep as much as the shepherd. For there is no reason why any one of them should have ignored the many warnings sounded at such great personal cost by Peter Duesberg and by other scientists, academics, journalists, lawyers and independent minded laypeople such as Kary Mullis, Walter Gilbert, Harvey Bialy, Serge Lang, David Rasnick, Richard Strohman, Charles Geshekter, John Lauritsen, Celia Farber, Charles Ortleb, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge, Jad Adams, Joan Shenton, Marco Mamone Capria, Gordon Stewart, Gordon Moran, Neville Hodgkinson, Robert Leppo, Etienne de Harven, Rian Malan, Anthony Brink, David Crowe, Liam Scheff, Christine Maggiore, Robin Scovill, Michael Ellner, David Steele, Frank Lusardi, Marcus Cohen, Robert Houston, James Hogan, Tom Bethell, Bryan Owen, Robert Laarhoven, Dean Esmay, Rebecca Culshaw, Mark Biernbaum and countless others in a list (to be extended) which is an honor roll as far as this blog is concerned.

The mental paralysis induced by medical and scientific authority is a phenomenon which has no excuse for intelligent, educated people, seems to us, even if they are unfamiliar with the details of science and medicine. We will always remember telling an HIV-positive writer for Vanity Fair at the San Franscisco AIDS Conference about Duesberg and the fact that he had reviewed the HIV paradigm with every intention of hopping on the funding bandwagon himself only to find there was nothing in it, and suggesting the writer look into it himself before taking any more AZT.

We even took round a long piece we had written for Harper’s on the subject (never published, as noted in an earlier post, because of Lewis Lapham’s unwillingness to get into bed, politically speaking, with the Heritage Foundation, which published Duesberg in Policy Review while our draft was being reviewed) to this poor fellow when we were both back in New York. He opened the door a crack and reached his hand through to take the paper and said he would let us know.

Two weeks later we called and exactly like Arthur Ashe in similar circumstances, he said, yes, it all looked very convincing, but he would just have to continue trusting his doctors. Five months later he was dead.

Larry Kramer billed $19,000 annually for drugs “I never took”

April 10th, 2006

The activist playwright misleads us on his own experience

Having been called out of order for crucifying the increasingly bewildered playwright Larry Kramer by a distinguished comment writer to the last post, we feel rather guilty at having to drive the nails in further, but after all, the irresponsibility of leaders in science and politics exploiting the trust of the ignorant and vulnerable is the theme of this blog. (Click photos twice for maximum size)

At 71 Kramer is still the grand old activist hero of the gay community when it comes to HIV?AIDS, influential in media circles and a performer who can pack the great Cooper Union hall with hundreds of men so attentive that you can hear a condom packet drop as he declaims his poetically styled despair at their unwitting cooperation with the Bush administration in murdering each other with irresponsible partying.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY DEPT.

NOWHERE

New Yorker Issue of 2004-11-22

Posted 2004-11-15

Larry Kramer delivered a long and fiery speech at Cooper Union last Sunday night. That, of course, was nothing new. Kramer, the playwright who founded the activist group act up and was the signature voice of the age of aids, is famous for his fury: once, he and thousands of his supporters invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral during Mass; another time, they wrapped Jesse Helms’s house in a giant yellow condom. Over the years, they hounded pharmaceutical companies and the government into developing and providing drugs and treatments.

In the early days of aids, straight people disliked Kramer for his aggressive honesty and gays ridiculed him for what they saw as his prissiness about sex, but now, at sixty-nine, he seems to have outlived the animosity of both groups. He has also outlived almost all of his friends. “It’s funny,’’ the playwright Tony Kushner said recently. “These days, audiences are fond of Larry. They seem wistful. Can you imagine that? Being wistful about Larry?”

Kramer surprises people who have seen him screeching on television or have read one of his radioactive e-mails. In conversation, he tends to speak so softly that one has to lean in to hear him. At Cooper Union, Kramer wore his usual uniform: overalls and a sweater with an American flag on it, over a red turtleneck. He looked stooped, old. He spoke for more than an hour, at the same lectern that Abraham Lincoln (who Kramer ceaselessly insists was gay) used when he addressed New Yorkers, in 1860. On Sunday night, the Great Hall was full; hundreds of people were turned away.

The speech, entitled “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” began with a dire assessment of the Presidential election. “I hope we all realize that, as of November 2nd, gay rights are officially dead,’’ Kramer said. “And that from here on we are going to be led even closer to the guillotine. Almost sixty million people whom we live and work with every day think we are immoral. ‘Moral values’ was at the top of many lists of why people supported George Bush. Not Iraq. Not the economy. Not terrorism. ‘Moral values.’ In case you need a translation, that means us.’’

But Kramer has never been harder on others than he has been on homosexuals themselves. It is the main reason that he has occasionally been dismissed as a febrile modern version of Cotton Mather. “I know many people look to me for answers,” he went on. “Perhaps that is why many of you are here. You want answers? We’re living in pig shit, and it’s up to each one of us to figure out how to get out of it.” By pig shit, he meant, more or less, a heedless life of unprotected sex and crystal-meth addiction. “It takes hard work to behave like an adult,” he continued. “It takes discipline. You want it to be simple. It isn’t simple. Yes, it is. Grow up. Behave responsibly. Fight for your rights. Take care of yourself and each other. These are the answers. It takes courage to live.”

He went on, “Does it occur to you that we brought this plague of aids upon ourselves? I know I am getting into dangerous waters here, but it is time. With the cabal breathing even more murderously down our backs, it is time. And you are still doing it: you are still murdering each other. . . . From the very first moment we were told, in 1981, that the suspected cause was a virus, gay men have refused to accept responsibility for choosing not to listen, and, starting in 1984, when we were told it definitely was a virus, this behavior turned murderous.”

A few weeks earlier, there had been a tribute to Kramer at the 92nd Street Y, produced by Kushner. On that evening, actors read from Kramer’s novel “Faggots,”from his plays “The Normal Heart” and “The Destiny of Me,” and from other works, including his prescient 1983 essay “1,112 and Counting,’’ in which he asked, incredulously, how many more people would have to die before gays got serious about aids. That was, roughly, seventy million infections ago.

“I guess if you live long enough people give up and accept you,’’ Kramer said that night, with something approaching giddiness. “I got invited to the National Cancer Institute, to a conference that is so high-level I don’t even understand the topics. And Harvard just called.”

Kramer understands, however, that acceptance doesn’t mean much, in the scheme of things, since it seems not to extend to gay people in general. “Nobody listens to us,” Kramer said at Cooper Union. “There is not a single person in Washington who will get us or give us anything but shit and more shit. I’m sorry. This is where we are now. Nowhere.”

COMMENT

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY DEPT.

— Michael Specter

Meanwhile Tony Fauci, that he once called a “murderer”, is now his savior and long time friend especially since he took a hand in arranging for Larry to receive proper care at the NIH in surviving liver damage long enough to be able to win a liver transplant in Pittsburgh.

All Larry’s crowd-swaying rhetoric and newfound fondness for Tony Fauci – not to mention his need for a liver transplant – is precariously predicated on one tragically questionable premise, however, and that is that the decline in gay men’s immunity to the impressive range of chemical and biological assaults on their bodies to which they are exposed in heavy partying is not due to the alien substances and internal flora and fauna themselves but to a negligible wisp of RNA whose genetic machinery is so limited that it cannot even reproduce without the help of a healthy cell.

That wisp is HIV, a 9 kilobase retrovirus, an otherwise inert entity belonging to a species of virus which has never been proven to cause any harm to any person (pace Robert Gallo and his not so leukemic HTLV-1 for which the US blood banks test blood for his profit and our supposed security, although most of the population in Japan in a certain large region have it in their veins with nil effect on their leukemia rate) despite billions being spent on testing them in the Nixon War on Cancer in the vain hope that such retroviruses might be a cause of human cancer, since one and only one of the species is able with a little encouragement to cause a tumor in chickens, which is hardly a cell killing activity.

So says the most tested scientific literature.

Faced with alien words like ‘retrovirus’, however, it’s possibly understandable that the artistic temperament of key players in HIV?AIDS gay politics such as Larry and the ebullient Brit Andrew Sullivan should be short circuited into a kind of mental paralysis which leaves them the passive recipients of whatever their more authoritative connections want to tell them.

Kramer has paid no attention even to members of ACT-UP the organization he founded when they changed their tune. A typically presumptuous 2000 piece by a reporter in POZ, always resolutely head-in-the-sand when it comes to HIV?AIDS, contains this quote:

But if the ((ACTUP/SF HIV rejecting)) members see themselves as unheeded, others see them as unhinged, and increasingly a public health menace. “To maintain that AIDS is not caused by HIV, to disrupt government and other official hearings to argue that money should not be voted for AIDS research and patient aid, to utilize vicious smear campaigns and to threaten legitimate activists with physical harm is beyond any intelligent comprehension,” said ACT UP founder Larry Kramer in a widely circulated e-mail in June. “Truly, in the face of our worldwide plague, such actions can only be construed as crazy”

Opinion leader Larry’s dereliction of duty

Most people can be forgiven for not wanting to go into the scientific literature, or even discuss HIV and AIDS in social situations. It is hardly dinner party conversation. But Larry is a leader of his community, and HIV positive since 1987. It is hardly good enough that his research method into whatever is really going on in HIV?AIDS, scientifically and medically, consists of a) palling around with Tony Fauci of NIAID and b) forwarding copies of articles by Celia Farber to his well placed media and activist friends and asking what they think of them.”

But this Ask John approach is an abdication of responsibility if you are a respected leader of the gay community in this life or death matter, certainly if you are aware of the serious professional challenge to the HIV?AIDS paradigm, as Larry has been from the first, since he is known to have been sent on request a copy of at least one of Duesberg’s early papers, and if he never followed Celia Farber’s columns in SPIN, which seems doubtful, he certainly read her piece in Gear in which she discussed the dangers of protease inhibitors.

It is thus hard to sympathize with his evident disinclination over many years, to do any serious reading himself into the peer-reviewed, two decade long scientific challenge to his key assumption, the one peddled by the activist-friendly scientists, official and reporters who so zealously purvey the standard line in HIV?AIDS to the general public, especially when his own health is at stake, let alone the health and lives of his followers. Like the thoughtful and thorough SPIN columns of Celia Farber, the twenty or so popular books on the topic are all very accessible, after all. Has he read any of them, apart from The Band Played On? They should have been his bedside reading, even if he can’t handle the Duesberg papers.

But sadly, it seems that Larry has just assumed all along that the scientific dispute is beyond him, although he has by his own account become a master of the complexities of which pills to take when.

Thus his response to being sent the latest cannonade fired by Duesberg into the side of the good ship HIV=AIDS, that vessel so many years becalmed in the doldrums of no cure, no vaccine, no explanation and still no hope of eventually avoiding death, was not promising. As mentioned Duesberg recently emailed him a pdf of his 2003 Journal of Biosciences paper. Larry’s response was a faint “It’s not quite within my ken, but I’ll try”.

He should try. Come on Larry, read it. OK, we admit that the chances of you being able to get through all 270 pages of the best recent briefing on the topic are small. We mean the book by Harvey Bialy, the uncompromisingly accurate and scientifically and socially precise account of the way scientists have really thought and behaved in HIV?AIDS and cancer research, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy an AIDS: The Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg” (North Atlantic Press 2004).

Bialy’s paperback is high quality, and parts are gossipy in a meaningful way, but it’s not for the science challenged. Larry tackling that might be too much like a tugboat trying to break through thick winter ice in Hudson Bay. Bialy’s clarity is as exact as Duesberg’s. But even with some familiarity with the scene it describes we had a hard time staying the course through every page of that scintillating but diamond hard jewel of science history and analysis, already saluted by some as a classic of its kind. A pity really since it is the one book that slows down the scientific shell game to slow motion for all to see.

But couldn’t lazy Larry have read and understood the gist of Peter Duesberg’s writings over the years, especially when his own life was at stake? Did he even try to? As an artist he would have appreciated the finesse and elegance of Duesberg’s texts, which we daresay are among the finest scientific papers extant in that regard. If truth and beauty are related, Duesberg’s historic papers persuade with style as much as substance, so even those readers who do not have time to pore over every sentence can be convinced that there is something to what he argues.

Some people accuse us of hero-worship when we compliment Duesberg for his work, but we challenge them to a) read his papers and b) suggest any in science that rival them in academic and even literary quality. We know of none. Certainly any effort by Robert Gallo or Anthony Fauci or David Baltimore to rival them in clarity, elegance and power of analysis will be a long time acoming.

It is that mastery of the topic that makes it relatively easy for a patient lay reader to follow the points of Duesberg’s definitive latest paper, which sends the main pillars of the paradigm flying like pins in a bowling alley. This is the 2003 Journal of Biosciences paper, Duesberg, P., Koehnlein, C. and Rasnick, D. (2003) The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy and Malnutrition.(J. Biosci. 28: 383-412), which can be downloaded as a pdf from that link, which is listed in the Scientific Papers page of Duesberg’s AIDS (non cancer) site. Anyone attentive can read the list of AIDS claims and facts which do not accord with established science or common sense and realize just how bereft of reason and evidence the current paradigm appears to be.

Not that there is anything new in it. The same points have been made for twenty years, with no good answers yet except evasion, obfuscation and ad hominem politics. Duesberg’s own very readable book, Inventing the AIDS Virus (Regnery, 1995) is still as valid as ever, and makes the political context clearer as well. Then there is a slew of other books, including one by Christine Maggiore, which can be understood by a child of twelve, What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong? There is really no excuse for anybody not to read this lay literature with attention, if they are diagnosed HIV positive.

Too late for Larry

But now, of course, it may be too late for Larry, who may well be on his last legs. After a liver transplant and years of deleterious drugs, it seems that Kramer is not in any shape to undertake such a challenge. That he didn’t do it in the past seems like wilful neglect, since he was after all the best known HIV?AIDS agitator in the gay community, which has lost so many lives, including many distinguished artists of all kinds. But now it seems that he has lost his grip completely, contradicting himself in his own account of whether he has taken drugs or not.

Certainly he misled Peter Duesberg in his recent attempt to get the lowdown from the scientist on his own particular case. As noted in the last post Larry told the distinguished Berkeley scientist that he had been diagnosed HIV positive in 1987 and had not taken any party drugs or anti-HIV drugs until the liver transplant he endured in 2001, when antiretrovirals were prescribed.

Here is what he actually wrote:

“would you explain something to me. i never used poppers. i never took drugs. i never had any chemo. i do not suffer and never have from malnutrition. i did not start taking anti-hiv drugs until 2001 when i got my liver transplant and they were required. i tested positive in 1987. you say these are the causes of hiv infection. i am hiv infected. i have and had many friends in the same boat, who simply do not fall into your criteria.”

As we pointed out this claim seemed rather inconsistent with his politics but he has said this before in public, for example, in his 2003 interview for the MIX Film Festival:

I never had to take any HIV drugs, until I got my liver. And the only reason I had to take it was because the transplant people insisted, to protect the liver. They wanted to keep HIV in check – whether it was out of check or not.- Larry Kramer Interview November 15, 2003, MIX -– The New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival Interview Number: 035 Interviewer: Sarah Schulman

Of course, this is perfectly possible, since there are other reasons why a liver can be so damaged that a transplant is undertaken, including alcoholism and Hepatitis B and C.

The liver, the largest organ in the body, is essential in keeping the body functioning properly. It removes or neutralizes poisons from the blood, produces immune agents to control infection, and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. It makes proteins that regulate blood clotting and produces bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. You cannot live without a functioning liver.

In cirrhosis of the liver, scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue, blocking the flow of blood through the organ and preventing it from working as it should. Cirrhosis is the twelfth leading cause of death by disease, killing about 26,000 people each year. Also, the cost of cirrhosis in terms of human suffering, hospital costs, and lost productivity is high.

Causes

Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States, chronic alcoholism and hepatitis C are the most common ones.

Alcoholic liver disease. To many people, cirrhosis of the liver is synonymous with chronic alcoholism, but in fact, alcoholism is only one of the causes. Alcoholic cirrhosis usually develops after more than a decade of heavy drinking. The amount of alcohol that can injure the liver varies greatly from person to person. In women, as few as two to three drinks per day have been linked with cirrhosis and in men, as few as three to four drinks per day. Alcohol seems to injure the liver by blocking the normal metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Chronic hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus ranks with alcohol as a major cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States. Infection with this virus causes inflammation of and low grade damage to the liver that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis.

Chronic hepatitis B and D. The hepatitis B virus is probably the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide, but it is less common in the United States and the Western world. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis. Hepatitis D is another virus that infects the liver, but only in people who already have hepatitis B.

Autoimmune hepatitis. This disease appears to be caused by the immune system attacking the liver and causing inflammation, damage, and eventually scarring and cirrhosis.

Inherited diseases. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, galactosemia, and glycogen storage diseases are among the inherited diseases that interfere with the way the liver produces, processes, and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances the body needs to function properly.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In NASH, fat builds up in the liver and eventually causes scar tissue. This type of hepatitis appears to be associated with diabetes, protein malnutrition, obesity, coronary artery disease, and treatment with corticosteroid medications.

Blocked bile ducts. When the ducts that carry bile out of the liver are blocked, bile backs up and damages liver tissue. In babies, blocked bile ducts are most commonly caused by biliary atresia, a disease in which the bile ducts are absent or injured. In adults, the most common cause is primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease in which the ducts become inflamed, blocked, and scarred. Secondary biliary cirrhosis can happen after gallbladder surgery if the ducts are inadvertently tied off or injured.

Drugs, toxins, and infections. Severe reactions to prescription drugs, prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, the parasitic infection schistosomiasis, and repeated bouts of heart failure with liver congestion can all lead to cirrhosis.[Top

But in fact we don’t have to look so far on the Web for the real causes of Larry’s liver deterioration into what his surgeon called a “really disgusting” condition. In the first place, he had Hepatitis B. Secondly, he was taking liver damaging HIV drugs, including AZT, according to his own words. His mind is apparently so muddled that this “I took no drugs” assertion is not only contradicted by statements he has made in the past, but in this 2003 interview, he makes a new and conflicting statement within a few pages.

So, which HIV meds are you taking?

LK: I took AZT when my liver started going bad, when my platelets went down. AZT, unknown to a lot of people, raises your platelets, so I took it for that. And then, I took Epivir, 3TC – whatever it’s called – for the Hep-B. And, that’s all I took for a number of years. And then since the transplant started, I’ve taken a bunch of them. I took Viracept, until I became resistant to it. I took Sustiva, which I loathed, until fortunately I became resistant to it, because it drove me nuts. And now, I’m on something which is an amazing drug, because it has absolutely no side effects – it’s like taking aspirin – it’s called Reyataz. Only now, they’ve just discovered – Steve Miles, the UCLA AIDS man has just discovered that Reyataz interacting with the other drugs I take is bad for Hepatitis-B. We know so much now, and I have so many doctors that I correspond with. I mean, talk about patient empowerment. I brought it to a new art. I have six doctors who I e-mail everything about me, and I pester them all to death, and I take advantage of everything that I possibly can, to get the information I need – just what we advocated everybody to do

So it certainly looks as if Larry is good at pestering doctors, at least, for information. Why doesn’t he think of pestering scientists, or looking in the literature which is the ultimate source, or should be, of the doctor’s pescriptions.

Anyhow, it is clear that before his liver transplant, he was taking AZT. How early? Apparently much earlier. He was certainly taking some drugs before 1996, $19,000 worth of them annually, in fact, including AZT. For in 1996 Larry himself was the author of a piece in the New York Times Magazine on July 14 in which he wrote:

The cost of my current drugs, which do not include a protease, already amounts to about $19,000 a year; this does not include visits to my doctor or the batteries of blood tests that he, and this virus, routinely require. And I am what’s called asymptomatic: I am not and have not been sick. A New York Times article earlier this year estimated that drugs for someone with full blown AIDS cost about $70,000 a year; in response, Tom Stoddard, New York University adjunct law professor and gay-rights advocate, wrote a letter to the editor saying that his cost $84,000 a year. Indeed, the seriously sick can find their annual drug cost exceeding $150,000.”

This statement was quoted by Duesberg in a subsequent papers. Thus in “The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus” by Peter Duesberg & David Rasnick in Genetica 104: 85-132, 1998 Duesberg referred to his drug use as follows:

Some insiders have described how the medical establishment urges HIV-positives to take countless anti-HIV drugs and how these drugs affect their lives. In “Checking in, my chart” the HIV-positive playwright Larry Kramer describes his own polypharmacy of 19 drugs composed by several AIDS luminaries such as Anthony Fauci, David Ho, Joseph Sonnabend, Alvin Friedman-Kien, and others: AZT, acyclovir [for genital herpes], Zantac, colchicine [mitosis blocker], propranolol, spironolactone, myphyston [for liver cirrhosis and hepatitis], Eucerin, Moisturel, Retin-A, mycolog, flucinonide, sulfacet-r, Nizoral [fungal dermatitis], Hisminal and Humbid [bronchitis], and Shaklee vitamins, zinc, NAC and a ‘turquoise stone which a fortune teller, many years ago, advised'(Kramer, 1994) – for an annual price tag of $19,000 (Kramer, 1996).

Nor is Kramer unaware that HIV drugs cause liver disease. In an interview on January 7, 2000 now at WebMD Transcript/AIDS Decade in Review With Larry Kramer, Richard Marlink MD and Parnessa Seele he was able to inform his MD listener that

“We’re finding out, for instance, that 50 per cent of people who take certain drugs die from liver disease rather than AIDS, because the drugs are so harsh on the liver. Norvbir has now been discovered to cause liver cancer in so many of the people who take it. I said to a friend of mine, David Sanford, who’s editor of the Wall Street Journal, who has AIDS, and who just feels so awful from all of these drugs, and I said ‘why don’t you get out there and say I feel awful from all these drugs?’ And he said, “well, because I’m alive.”

Thus the Ask-John method of confirmation at work, and an extraordinary quote from a Wall Street Journal editor, for whom, it seems, everything follows from the assumption that HIV is the danger being kept at bay, so everything suffered in this overriding cause is worth it, even, it appears, liver transplants and death. In other words, one’s own experience counts for nothing if authority says otherwise.

Elsewhere in print, months before his liver transplant, Larry also admitted to taking HIV meds prior to the transplant, and said that one them, 3TC (Epivir), “caused…the liver disease than now is requiring a new liver.” In other words, he conceded Duesberg’s point: that HIV drugs can cause the liver disease seen in HIV positive patients.

Apparently for years now poor Larry has not been in good shape and can forget what he said only a few moments earlier. Fair enough. That is no crime for a man of 71 who has endured whatever attacks the drugs have made upon his system throughout the years, let alone more recently the mother of all organ operations. And let’s give him credit for avoiding crystal meth and antiviral drugs as best he could. But one thing is clear. Over two decades Kramer has not been well qualified to lead his community in this vexed and deadly issue because he has not met his responsibility to double check the science thoroughly.

In the end, does the fault belong to the shepherd or the sheep?

That all these supposedly alert people have followed the Pied Pipers of ACTUP and the NIH into drug hell and eventually decline and death, and agitated for the privilege of doing so, is something that can surely be blamed on the sheep as much as the shepherd. For there is no reason why any one of them should have ignored the many warnings sounded at such great personal cost by Peter Duesberg and by other scientists, academics, journalists, lawyers and independent minded laypeople such as Kary Mullis, Walter Gilbert, Harvey Bialy, Serge Lang, David Rasnick, Richard Strohman, Charles Geshekter, John Lauritsen, Celia Farber, Charles Ortleb, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge, Jad Adams, Joan Shenton, Marco Mamone Capria, Gordon Stewart, Gordon Moran, Neville Hodgkinson, Robert Leppo, Etienne de Harven, Rian Malan, Anthony Brink, David Crowe, Liam Scheff, Christine Maggiore, Robin Scovill, Michael Ellner, David Steele, Frank Lusardi, Marcus Cohen, Robert Houston, James Hogan, Tom Bethell, Bryan Owen, Robert Laarhoven, Dean Esmay, Rebecca Culshaw, Mark Biernbaum and countless others in a list which is an honor roll of truth seeking as far as this blog is concerned.

The mental paralysis induced by medical and scientific authority is a phenomenon which has no excuse for intelligent, educated people, seems to us, even if they are unfamiliar with the details of science and medicine. We will always remember telling an HIV-positive writer for Vanity Fair at the San Franscisco AIDS Conference about Duesberg and the fact that he had reviewed the HIV paradigm with every intention of hopping on the funding bandwagon himself only to find there was nothing in it, and suggesting the writer look into it himself before taking any more AZT.

We even took round a long piece we had written for Harper’s on the subject (never published, as noted in an earlier post, because of Lewis Lapham’s unwillingness to get into bed, politically speaking, with the Heritage Foundation, which published Duesberg in Policy Review while our draft was being reviewed) to this poor fellow when we were both back in New York. He opened the door a crack and reached his hand through to take the paper and said he would let us know.

Two weeks later we called and exactly like Arthur Ashe in similar circumstances, he said, yes, it all looked very convincing, but he would just have to continue trusting his doctors. Five months later he was dead.

How scientists block dissent from the media in HIV?AIDS

March 20th, 2006

Why journalists should be permitted to give their individual judgement

The expertly handled Lia Miller media piece last Monday An Article in Harper’s Ignites a Controversy Over H.I.V.:

The New York Times

March 13, 2006

An Article in Harper’s Ignites a Controversy Over H.I.V.

By LIA MILLER

In his last issue as the editor of Harper’s Magazine, Lewis Lapham has left a parting gift for his successor: a firestorm in the media and among AIDS researchers.

The source is a 15-page article in the March issue, titled “Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science,” by Celia Farber. Ms. Farber, a longtime magazine journalist, has been a polarizing figure because she has frequently written about the position of “AIDS dissidents,” who argue that H.I.V. does not cause AIDS.

The Harper’s article centers on a clinical trial in Uganda for the drug Nevirapine that was later criticized for poor methodology and treatment of some test subjects. But the final third of the article focuses on the tangentially related topic of Dr. Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leading AIDS dissident, and his strained relationship with the National Institutes of Health.

Soon after the article’s publication, rebuttals to Dr. Duesberg’s theories and to other aspects of Ms. Farber’s article were posted on Web sites like The Nation (www.nation.com) and www.poz.com. A 37-page document, written by eight prominent AIDS researchers, was posted on the Treatment Action Campaign Web site (www.tac.org.za), a group that campaigns for greater access to H.I.V. treatment in South Africa. Harper’s received a surge of letters and phone calls.

Roger Hodge, who will succeed Mr. Lapham at Harper’s next month, said that Mr. Lapham initially assigned Ms. Farber an article about Dr. Duesberg’s cancer research, but the assignment was changed when news of the drug trial broke. Mr. Hodge edited the article.

“We knew, of course, that everyone would be upset,” he said, adding that the article was thoroughly fact-checked. “This is a very contentious subject. We have gotten some very, very thoughtful responses. But other pieces have generated a lot more mail.”

John P. Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and one of the authors of the Treatment Action Campaign’s rebuttal, said he was shocked when he first saw the article. He said it seemed apparent that Mr. Hodge wanted to “teach the controversy” of Dr. Duesberg’s ideas, a controversy that he said AIDS researchers had resolved long ago. He added that Harper’s reputation had “taken an irreparable hit.” Dr. Duesberg didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Benjamin Ryan, an editor at large at HIV Plus magazine who writes a monthly health column on Gay.com, said he had lost faith in Harper’s. He said, as did many scientists, that the article was poorly fact-checked and had glaring errors.

Ms. Farber says that neither she nor Harper’s endorse Dr. Duesberg’s position, but that she is simply reporting on an unpopular view. “People can’t distinguish, it seems, between describing dissent and being dissent,” she said.

“I’m very familiar, since 20 years, with the hysteria end of the spectrum, the rage that breaks out when one touches certain tenets of dogma,” she wrote in an e-mail message. “Anger has been the dominant emotion in AIDS for a long time, almost the only emotion that seems to really function. Anger is connected to fear. I understand it. I’m used to it. I hope we can transcend it.”

Mr. Hodge said the magazine stood behind the article and Ms. Farber.

“The fact that she’s been covering this story does not make her a crackpot — it makes her a journalist. She’s a courageous journalist, I believe, because she has covered the story at great personal cost.”

* Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

was interesting for what it revealed about the way reporters have been handicapped in covering the HIV?AIDS dispute by a clever Catch-22 used on them by those trying to escape scrutiny of the paradigm.

The New York Observer with its usual smarts fastened onto that aspect in a Daily Transom comment on Celia Farber in Harper’s, which highlighted a problem which has long corrupted HIV?AIDS journalism: print reporters operate with one hand tied behind their back when they investigate issues in the science of HIV?AIDS. Even after twenty years, during which they build up exceptional expertise and instinct for truth in this area, they have to be careful to maintain the stance of “objectivity”, and not express any opinion of their own as to which side is right.

Ms. Farber says that neither she nor Harper’s endorse Dr. Duesberg’s position, but that she is simply reporting on an unpopular view. “People can’t distinguish, it seems, between describing dissent and being dissent,” she said.

What could possibly have confused people about the difference between description and outright dissent?

The one thing we do know, “categorically,” is that the myths that have sprung up from Africa about AIDS are “positively absurd,” [Farber] exploded, citing theories that HIV is rampantly spreading AIDS throughout Africa. “this really lifts off into science fiction.” […] “I suspect “they” got to him [Nelson Mandela]–Jimmy Carter and all those believing AIDS is pandemic in Africa, Black Africans know that to be loved by the West, you talk their line all the way–especially on AIDS.”

—Interview with Celia Farber, Dec 1, 2005, The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.

Celia Farber: Has the Dissenter Become the… Dissentee?

The March Harper’s carries a piece by Celia Farber, who has written about AIDS—and HIV denialists such as Peter Duesberg—for 20 years. Says today’s New York Times:

Ms. Farber says that neither she nor Harper’s endorse Dr. Duesberg’s position, but that she is simply reporting on an unpopular view. “People can’t distinguish, it seems, between describing dissent and being dissent,” she said.

What could possibly have confused people about the difference between description and outright dissent?

The one thing we do know, “categorically,” is that the myths that have sprung up from Africa about AIDS are “positively absurd,” [Farber] exploded, citing theories that HIV is rampantly spreading AIDS throughout Africa. “this really lifts off into science fiction.” […] “I suspect “they” got to him [Nelson Mandela]–Jimmy Carter and all those believing AIDS is pandemic in Africa, Black Africans know that to be loved by the West, you talk their line all the way–especially on AIDS.”

—Interview with Celia Farber, Dec 1, 2005, The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.

“Everybody who was wrong got journalism awards. Everybody who was right got all but driven from the profession,” Farber said.

Farber exposed the conspiracy between profit-hungry drug companies, researchers who wanted more funding, homosexuals who didn’t want the disease to be known as “the gay plague,” and conservatives who wanted to turn back the sexual revolution.

—March 19, 2004, New York Post, “Straight AIDS Myth Shattered.”

“Suffice to say, AIDS professionals will be aghast,” Farber declares. “Unless, of course, they’ve decided to take their cash and their ribbons and helicopter off to their chalets where they can hope to live out their days in anonymity.” [Rian] Milan’s findings debunk myths that the scientific community has been spreading for 20 years.

—Nov 4, 2001, New York Post, on the publication of Rian Milan’s “AIDS in Africa: In Search of the Truth” in Rolling Stone.

I fell silent, realizing from years of reporting on this issue how futile it is to argue when the big club of HIV has been pulled out. Like the child’s game of rock, paper, scissors, HIV is always the rock and the scissors.

—Celia Farber, 1998, Mothering, “AZT Roulette.”

March 13 05:58 PM | Filed as: Media

Comments

Celia Farber’s claims of objectivity and commitment to journalism – that her job is to “ask questions” – is about as sincere as Pat Robertson claiming the same of the homosexual lifestyle. At least Robertson wears his bias proudly on his chest.

Farber is a crank, a sad excuse for a journalist and unfortunately for the Harper’s fact-checkers, a patent liar – always has been on the HIV/AIDS topic. There are purveyors of misleading information – she is not one of them. Farber just outright lies. She treats scientific facts surrounding HIV/AIDS with the same care a termite does a piece of wood – she hacks it up, leaving nothing but a pile of unrecognizable shavings.

Many people have lost their lives by her words. She’s pathetic.

Posted by: Kate | March 13, 2006 07:55 PM

It is ludicrous for Farber to suddenly proclaim in 2006 that she is only the messenger. She has written on and argued for the denialist position for at least a decade and half. She wrote about nothing else in SPIN Magazine for years. There was never any question that she was espousing her own views. No one should be surprised by this new claim of being the messenger though. Her writing has been blatantly dishonest and misleading from day one. Like her apparent mentor Peter Duesberg, she simply ignores the principles of science, hiding all evidence contrary to her views while spotlighting the few specks of data that seem, at least to the untrained eye, to bolster her case. I have come to believe that HIV denialism, like Holocaust denialism, is a mental illness deeply rooted in problems accepting authority and an inability to admit error. Though sometimes harmless, in matters as grave as AIDS it has become criminal behavior resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.

Posted by: Martin Delaney | March 14, 2006 06:41 PM

what I loved was Harper’s editor Rodger Hodge telling the Times about the great personal cost to Farber of her “brave” reporting….really, Rodger? A greater personal toll than, say, losing both parents to AIDS, as more than 10 million African children have? Rodger Hodge, Rick MacArthur, and Harper’s should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 15, 2006 09:34 AM

Celia Farber is an extraordinarily gifted journalist who has had the temerity to report on an amazing scientific controversy that the national media and HIV/AIDS agencies would prefer to ignore or dismiss. This is the fact that some highly qualified scientists, including retrovirologists and Nobel laureates, believe that evidence is lacking that HIV causes AIDS. In reporting on the other side as well in the AIDS debate, Ms. Farber has acted as a truly objective journalist should and performed an outstanding public service. Her writings have helped to compensate for the extremely onesided party-line reporting that has typified the AIDS issue. Her article in Harper’s is a masterpiece that exposes the corruption in AIDS research and should merit the author a Pulitzer prize.

Posted by: Robert Houston | March 15, 2006 01:29 PM

What is the point of the Transom piece? Is it that sympathy for one side disqualifies one from writing about an issue? Then there would be no qualified journalists on anything, and HIV believers likewise should be silenced. Or was the point that journalists or editors who have a personal opinion on a scientific issue should issue conclusive scientific endorsements? This would be equally absurd.

The first three commentators engaged in scurrilous smear-tactics typical of HIV activist groups, which have become little more than goon squads for the government and the drug companies which finance them. One of the commentators leads a group – is it Project Misinform? – that is heavily bankrolled by the makers of HIV drugs. He speaks of “the loss of thousands of lives” from “denialism” when the nearly universal feature of longterm AIDS survivors has been refusal to take the drugs. In Lederer’s article in the current POZ (April), Joseph Sonnabend, M.D., founder of AMFAR, charges that “1200 mg a day of AZT (the first approved dose in the ’80s) killed thousands, as did so-called early intervention.” It was not Peter Duesberg but Robert Gallo who ignored the principles of science by announcing in 1984 that HIV was the cause of AIDS though it was absent in 64% of the AIDS patients he tested.

Posted by: Diogenes | March 18, 2006 02:10 PM

That last comment about the absence of HIV in most AIDS patients was a bit startling so I checked it out. The discovery paper for HIV (then called HTLV-III) states in the abstract: “Retroviruses… designated HTLV-III were isolated from…26 of 72 adult and juvenile patients with AIDS” (R.C. Gallo et al. Science 224:500, May 4, 1984). That’s only 36%, meaning that HIV could not be found in 64% of AIDS patients. To claim it the cause of AIDS on such a flimsy basis is a violation of Koch’s first postulate, which requires that the putative pathogen be found in all cases of the disease. This means that the “denialists” are correct: HIV failed the basic scientific principle for establishing causation.

This was one of the many striking points raised by Prof. Peter Duesberg in his critiques of the HIV theory. I have read several of his papers on AIDS and found them to be thoughtful, comprehensive, and meticulous in reviewing the data. Rather than “hiding all evidence,” as Mr. Delaney falsely claims, Duesberg examines it with respect to established scientific principles. His June 2003 paper (J. Biosci.) showss in Table 4 how the 17 claims of the HIV theory have each been disproven. In checking his references, I found they always accurately supported his statements. Ms. Farber’s quoted statements also ring true and are a refreshing change from the standard “group-think.”

Posted by: Researcher | March 19, 2006 02:17 PM

We have to agree with this, insofar as it points to a handicap of the few critical HIV?AIDS reporters which the defenders of HIV?AIDS have always taken advantage of, which is the absurdly blanket rule that all reporters (and editors) on the topic should be ‘objective’, and merely report on the two sides of the issue in a balanced fashion and refrain from coming to any conclusion of their own, but let the reader make up his or her mind.

The unbiased reporter

The comments provoked by this stricture are among the best so far. We like Diogenes’ comment best:

What is the point of the Transom piece? Is it that sympathy for one side disqualifies one from writing about an issue? Then there would be no qualified journalists on anything, and HIV believers likewise should be silenced. Or was the point that journalists or editors who have a personal opinion on a scientific issue should issue conclusive scientific endorsements? This would be equally absurd.

The first three commentators engaged in scurrilous smear-tactics typical of HIV activist groups, which have become little more than goon squads for the government and the drug companies which finance them. One of the commentators leads a group – is it Project Misinform? – that is heavily bankrolled by the makers of HIV drugs. He speaks of “the loss of thousands of lives” from “denialism” when the nearly universal feature of longterm AIDS survivors has been refusal to take the drugs. In Lederer’s article in the current POZ (April), Joseph Sonnabend, M.D., founder of AMFAR, charges that “1200 mg a day of AZT (the first approved dose in the ’80s) killed thousands, as did so-called early intervention.” It was not Peter Duesberg but Robert Gallo who ignored the principles of science by announcing in 1984 that HIV was the cause of AIDS though it was absent in 64% of the AIDS patients he tested.

Posted by: Diogenes | March 18, 2006 02:10 PM

The laughable idea that the reporter doesn’t develop an informed view of his or her own derives from a standard practice in journalism of not using reporters who are partisan in a dispute to cover that dispute, which a priori is reasonable enough. Like judges who are related to a defendant, they must recuse themselves.

The problem is that no distinction is made between a partisan and a reporter who studies and reports on a scientific issue where the evidence backing opposing judgements about the explanation of phenomena is in dispute , ie the facts backing a theory.

The reporter who draws on many sources on both sides of such a factual dispute about the validity of a theory may well end up one of the most expert lay observers in the field. His or her opinion of which side is right becomes very valuable to those who cannot spare the time to follow the science, or may not be able to understand it without long study, but who have to make policy decisions.

But the politics of HIV?AIDS have become so twisted that it is only those who agree with the paradigm of HIV=AIDS that are allowed to express their own opinion, usually extending to disparaging those who would disagree with them.

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“lack of objectivity”, a rule which has had the result in the case of HIV?AIDS that those who report on the dissident view have been almost completely shut out of mainstream journalism for two decades.

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This places a peculiar handicap on the reporters in HIV?AIDS. The burden is that if they are sufficiently interested to thoroughly fathom the science for themselves, perhaps simply by covering it long enough in their reporting, they tend to make up their own minds about who is right, the paradigm supporters or their critics. But they are not allowed to say so without losing their license to report on the topic.

The statement “I personally believe Duesberg is right” immediately disqualifies them from being the “objective” reporters so much beloved in journalistic myth here in the US. They are seen as “biased” in favor of Duesberg’s position. For some reason, however, offering a partisan opinion is fine if they support the paradigm, which history shows those with only a shallow exposure to Duesberg’s critique tend to do, often adding a little scorn and derision of Duesberg to boot.

If you conclude Duesberg is right, you are not ‘objective’

Those reporters who decide that it is Duesberg who is the reliable scientist in this altercation have plenty of reason to do so, since his critiques are enduring, repeated over the years without having to adjust significantly to new data (with one exception, the alleged`success of the HAART regimen in helping HIV?AIDS patients live “normal lives”), validated (refereed by peers who would dearly love to contradict him but apparently cannot do so effectively and so fail to stop publication of his papers in reputable journals) and are in effect endorsed by more hostile examination than any of the conventional papers in the field. They are treated differently, however. People with this judgement don’t get hired because they are not “objective” ie biased in favor of the consensus.

This seems a total misapplication of the standard rule of US journalism that reporters should not be involved in the politics of a field they cover, and should not take sides in a political dispute they report lest they be accused of “lack of objectivity”, a rule which has had the result in the case of HIV?AIDS that those who report on the dissident view have been almost completely shut out of mainstream journalism for two decades.

On the other hand, the evident bias of Larry Altman, Nicholas Wade and other science reporters and editors at the New York Times should have been questionable according to the conventional journalistic view, since they chose sides in a dispute with equal professional credentials on both sides (if anything, Peter Duesberg with his impeccable record, exceptionally generous NIH funding and early membership of the National Academy was in fact superior in reputation to Robert Gallo). But they have felt perfectly fine hewing to the paradigm position, and no one has criticized them for being partisan.

It is not only this one-sided license which is wrong. It is also the fact that the topic is science, which is meant to be a non-political activity. In political or social disputes, editors may well wish to hire reporters who are not taking part in the theater they are covering. But this is science we are reporting.

Of course, the thinking probably goes along these lines: the HIV?AIDS paradigm supporters quote the most established scientists in senior positions, and credit the majority opinion in the field. This is what editors prefer. Thus it seems perfectly OK for Times reporters to go along with those in power and support the conventional view in a scientific dispute. After all, what better sources could they use than those at the top of a field?

But in the case of HIV?AIDS, the paradigm skeptic Duesberg and many of his top supporters are equally well or better qualified as a reliable source. There are few if any better qualified than Peter Duesberg to make a good judgement on the paradigm issue. Not only is he clearly an exemplary scientist, since his work won him awards, golden boy funding from the NIH, a seat in the Academy at an early age, and even talk of him qualifying for the Nobel in the letter column of Nature, but he has never been accused of lowering scientific standards, or publishing questionable papers, as both Robert Gallo and David Baltimore, his chief opponents in the matter, have been.

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What is tragic is that they may be defending the paradigm at the cost of their own lives.

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And of course he has studied the whole question a lot longer and more thoroughly perforce than his opponents, apparently believing that it is the science that is at issue and not the politics.

So why shouldn’t the Times reporters give him equal time?

We imagine it is because against all logic then they would be considered not “objective”. But how ridiculous, whatever the reason, that they should have ignored Duesberg and the critique of HIV?AIDS for twenty years, except for barely three or four short news items and a review of his book, Inventing the AIDS Virus, by an insultingly inferior scientific mind.

A scientific issue, not political

Whether HIV is the cause of AIDS is a scientific issue, not a political one. It is a scientific issue that has been intensely politicized, but it is still not a political issue. The rush of activists to the defense of the paradigm, apparently at the implicit bidding of the drug companies who fund most or all of them, according to the Harpers article, is motivated by various emotions, none of them scientific.

The defense of the paradigm by the scientists standing on top of it is also possibly motivated by politics and psychology, rather than pure professionalism or innate love of truth, because their status and remuneration are heavily dependent on it. Many accuse them of this self-interest in their judgement. No one knows if this is true, of course, and whatever their motivations, they are irrelevant to the decision of who is right, and these intense politics just interfere with real science.

Certainly AIDS activists and their political demands have interfered with HIV?AIDS science from the start, pushing to release dangerous drugs early from incomplete trials before science has validated their effect. And they are still at it, according to the piece by Farber, which mentions that most if not all major activist groups in this arena are funded by the drug companies, and always have been. What activists are most active in is defending the ruling paradigm against challenge, acting in effect as the palace guard of the HIV?AIDS scientific elite. What is tragic is that they may be defending the paradigm at the cost of their own lives.

The tragic irony for the press in its turn may be that with the oddly unbalanced demand for “objectivity” HIV?AIDS reporters at the Times and elsewhere have ended up allied with the activists in shutting out the paradigm critique. They have become palace guards for the paradigm too.

For editors in the media, following the rule of hiring only uninvolved, objective reporters to cover an issue, have seldom hired reporters who are open minded to the dissident case, but published instead the ones who follow the established paradigm line that any challenges are spurious by definition.

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If the issues in science are not to be fathomed by outsiders, especially expert, worldy and perceptive writers and reporters with no initial axe to grind themselves, how will government officials ever hope to escape being taken in by a baseless paradigm which scientists succeed in getting funded, which is what has happened in this case according to all the critics?

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Thus they too have betrayed their own interests and policy and have used the reporters who are biased, rather than the ones who are objective when they first approach the story. In the case of Nicholas Wade of the Times for example, and probably most others, they have hired and published reporters who by their own admission (recently made to us after a CUNY panel) have not recently kept up with the papers Duesberg has so carefully prepared under such intense (and therefore validating) peer review. Surely such reporters are the ones who should be doubly banned from taking sides in a scientific dispute if they have not even read the source material.

This is the giant flaw in the system that can be seen in the Lia Miller article last week, sticking out like a sore thumb for everyone to see. The sad irony is that Harper’s editor Roger Hodge and writer Celia Farber, who have set such a proud example in not knuckling under to the ignorant media consensus on HIV?AIDS and instead explored the topic for themselves and made up their own minds, as good reporters and editors do, are evidently sticking to this very rule in the current affair, even though they are the ones who should break it and firmly stand up for the validity of Duesberg’s views as they have thoroughly researched them.

Handcuffed by a misapplied rule

For as the Observer points out, given the opportunity to say to Lia Miller of the Times that Duesberg appears to them to be right, neither Celia or Harpers editor Roger D. Hodge is willing to say this. Handcuffed by the obligatory myth of “objectivity” of US journalism, even after preparing a 15 page article over two years (with Celia over twenty years seasoned experience in this area) on this disputed issue in science, they apparently feel forced to pretend they haven’t made up their own minds.

As the Transom points out, in fact Farber clearly has made a judgment, as her interviews show. And why shouldn’t she? It may not be the scientific judgement of a scientist, but it is the highly informed opinion of a perceptive researcher in the field. We see reason to believe that Roger Hodge has made up his mind too, at least on the basis of becoming well informed on the case in editing the article and getting it into a form that he, as Harper’s new editor, would have to stand behind as valid. But if the two of them have made up the minds, they don’t want to tell us, because it is not their business as journalists to be “partisan”, as Hodge has put it to us.

Not being professional scientists, they have no authority to decide for all of us about scientific questions, for sure. But after unusually careful study – which certainly in Hodge’s case was utterly objective, since as far as we know he had never heard of the issue before the first draft of the article came in – their opinion is better informed than most people outside science, and most people in it.

And if the issues in science are not to be fathomed by outsiders, especially expert, worldly and perceptive writers and reporters with no initial axe to grind themselves, how will government officials ever hope to escape being taken in by a baseless paradigm which scientists succeed in getting funded, which is what has happened in this case according to all the critics?

We for sure want to know what they think. And we don’t view it as in any way compromising their journalistic professionalism to tell us. They should be prepared to give the public guidance, since they both presumably approached the subject with impartiality in the first place, and have studied it exhaustively. In fact, they are among the best people to ask who do NOT have an axe to grind. It is the paradigm scientists and their followers who are “partisan.”

Of course the absurdity is that their opinion is anyway inherent in the article and the way it is written for all to see. The mere fact that it is assigned, and successfully written, edited and published, implies the endorsement of the writer and editor of the material as worth taking seriously as an alternative viewpoint. If Hodge didn’t believe Duesberg was making valid points which have not been answered successfuly by the defenders of HIV?AIDS, he surely wouldn’t give him so much valuable space in his magazine. Harper’s instead would also point out key defects in his position and show that he had been convincingly answered and wasn’t able to refute the replies. The article would more prominently feature people who disagreed with him and deplored his influence.

It is time for this rule in journalism to be reassessed, and for reporters to be permitted to talk as individuals about this scientific dispute without being handcuffed by those in power.

(More in Comments below)

World’s greatest academic whistleblower to be remembered at Yale

February 16th, 2006

Lang Memorial tomorrow, Friday February 17


The memorial day for Serge Lang is upon us. Friends, colleagues and perhaps one or two of those he harassed, politely but firmly, for misinforming students and the public, will be attending the event tomorrow in Yale’s Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Room 102. The proceedings will start with an open stage for everyone who wishes to recall the lively virtues of this extraordinary man and mathematician, who was unique in the entire world in the style and execution of his life of truthseeking, academic and political.

After lunch four of the top mathematicians who have collaborated with Lang in his distinguished career in math will be appreciating his contributions in that field, which included not only a slew of current textbooks but some seminal contributions in his field. Here is the Yale Daily News obituary of Lang (there is no proper biography on the web pages of the Mathematics Department any longer, if there ever was, which is a point to be checked tomorrow) which sketches Lang’s math achievements for those that are familiar with that esoteric universe.

Lang’s career research focused on algebra — for which he won the prestigious Frank Nelson Cole Prize — as well as algebraic geometry, number theory, and analysis. Jones said that he often stayed at his office late into the evening, and did not stop theorizing even when he got home. For years at a time, Jones said, Lang would call him each night to pose mathematical problems without pausing to identify himself or say hello.

Many of their discussions centered around the “heat kernel,” a mathematical concept that Lang believed could be used to approach research and instruction across a variety of mathematical branches. As with “The File,” he made publicizing the heat kernel his personal mission.

Despite Lang’s prolific research, teaching undergraduates was his principal passion. Geankoplos met Lang as a freshman at Yale in 1971, when Lang was touring the dining halls of various universities to evaluate their job offers.

“He decided that the best way to find out what the school was like was to sit down and have meals with the undergraduates,” Geanakoplos said. “He was tremendously engaged in what his students were doing and thinking.”

Published Friday, September 16, 2005

Math professor Serge Lang dies at age 78

Lang is remembered for significant academic contributions, dispute of link between HIV and AIDS

BY ROSS GOLDBERG

Staff Reporter

Serge Lang, a noted mathematics professor emeritus and the most prolific modern writer in his field, died Monday at the age of 78.

Yale President Richard Levin said he did not know the circumstances of Lang’s death, but a colleague said he had been suffering from health problems. Lang, a member of the National Academy of Sciences who retired from Yale last year, was known for his activism in mathematical education and his controversial disputation of the link between HIV and AIDS.

“He was a forceful advocate for causes he believed in,” Levin said. “Sometimes he regarded himself as the conscience of the University.”

Mathematics professor Peter Jones said the volume of Lang’s work is believed to have surpassed that of 18th century mathematician Leonhard Euler, who held the record for total number of words written. Lang’s work includes hundreds of articles, books and textbooks, as well as “The File,” an anthology of academic inconsistencies that he distributed to friends and colleagues.

Economics professor John Geanakoplos, Lang’s longtime acquaintance and colleague, said “The File” was only part of his lifelong crusade against inaccuracy.

“There were famous people and causes that he found intellectually unscrupulous, and he wouldn’t rest until he got to the bottom of things,” Geanakoplos said.

In perhaps his most controversial claim, Lang argued that a causal link between HIV and AIDS has not been definitively established. Lang frequently handed out pamplets on campus at talks dealing with AIDS.

But Lang had more success in his campaign against Samuel Huntington, a Harvard political scientist nominated to the National Academy of Sciences. In an unorthodox campaign, Lang defeated Huntington’s nomination on the grounds that he used spurious mathematical reasoning.

Lang even went so far as to administer a “Huntington Test” to dozens of his students each year, said Avidit Acharya ’06, his friend and mentee. Lang had the students comment on passages from Huntington’s work to determine, as he would put it, whether they could “tell a fact from a hole in the ground,” Acharya said.

Lang’s demanding personality extended into the classroom, said Timothy Brandt ’06, a former student. Though Lang befriended his students, sometimes taking his class out to dinner at Yorkside Pizza and Restaurant, he did not withhold his criticism from them.

“He wasn’t afraid to tell you that you didn’t know what you were talking about, that you were full of it,” Brandt said.

Lang’s career research focused on algebra — for which he won the prestigious Frank Nelson Cole Prize — as well as algebraic geometry, number theory, and analysis. Jones said that he often stayed at his office late into the evening, and did not stop theorizing even when he got home. For years at a time, Jones said, Lang would call him each night to pose mathematical problems without pausing to identify himself or say hello.

Many of their discussions centered around the “heat kernel,” a mathematical concept that Lang believed could be used to approach research and instruction across a variety of mathematical branches. As with “The File,” he made publicizing the heat kernel his personal mission.

Despite Lang’s prolific research, teaching undergraduates was his principal passion. Geankoplos met Lang as a freshman at Yale in 1971, when Lang was touring the dining halls of various universities to evaluate their job offers.

“He decided that the best way to find out what the school was like was to sit down and have meals with the undergraduates,” Geanakoplos said. “He was tremendously engaged in what his students were doing and thinking.”

Here is the schedule for the day which lists the four mathematician speakers:

Schedule for Friday, February 17th, 2006

All talks will be in Room 102 in Linsly-Chittenden Hall at 61 High Street

9:00-11:30 Open discussion on the life and works of Serge Lang

11:30-1:30 Lunch at local restaurants or Yale Dining Halls (The Fellows Dining Hall in Silliman College, 5050 College St. has been reserved for group seating)

1:30-2:10 John Tate, University of Texas at Austin

2:20-3:00 Ken Ribet, University of California Berkeley

3:00-3:30 Coffee Break

3:30-3:40 John Geanakopolos, Economics Department, Yale University

3:50-4:30 Jay Jorgenson, City College, New York

As we wrote in two earlier obituary posts at the time of his death, we know a whole lot more about his extracurricular activity hounding the fat cats and bigtime networking careerists of the academic and scientific world for talking nonsense and not admitting it when Lang called them on it and tried to correct the record. His performance in this arena was matchless, and unfortunately little publicised.

His book Challenges, a collection of the so-called Files of correspondence and comment he built up in his behind the scenes letter writing, is the enduring classic of the field of academic and professional whistleblowing, of which he was the finest and most important practitioner.

He was especially important in HIV?AIDS, where he mercilessly deconstructed the scientific and statistical drivel being asserted by the leaders of the field. Over the last ten years he became the most important academic partner of Peter Duesberg in this respect, since the few academics who supported Duesberg in public did not match Lang in their practical support. In this respect in particular he is sorely missed.

One of his finest performances in objecting to HIV?AIDS – a classic in the field – was THE CASE OF HIV:WE HAVE BEEN MISLED in Yale Scientific for Spring 1999, pp. 9-19.

Sometimes when I have given a talk on HIV, questioning the orthodoxy, members of the bio-medical establishment have not come to my talk and have refused to answer scientific questions, giving to colleagues the reason that what I do “is dangerous”. But I regard as dangerous to censor or suppress information, and to allow a situation to develop when people appear unable to distinguish between facts and an orthodox view. The orthodox view is accepted uncritically by people at large as a result of mass conditioning by the media’s uncritical acceptance of the scientific orthodoxy, and the refusal to publish information which goes counter to the orthodoxy.

Everyone should read through it who wishes to get a clear idea of what has been happening in the (non)science in HIV?AIDS for two decades.

Yale Scientific Spring 1999, pp. 9-19

THE CASE OF HIV:

WE HAVE BEEN MISLED

By Serge Lang

23 February 1999

I am usually a mathematician, but for many years, I have been interested in the area where the academic and scientific worlds meet the world of journalism and politics. I have thus documented extensively certain defective practices over 20 years. I published some of my documentation in my book Challenges (Springer Verlag, 1998).

One thing leading to another, over the last six years I have made up a file on an extraordinary situation concerning the virus called HIV. I have drawers full of documents. The Yale Scientific published two articles by me on HIV, in Fall 1994 and Winter 1995. The first article was entitled “HIV and AIDS: Have We Been Misled?” Both articles are reproduced updated in Challenges. The present article is therefore a follow up. To summarize:

– The hypothesis that HIV is a harmless virus is compatible with all the evidence I have studied.

– Certain purportedly scientific articles on HIV, which I and others have followed up, are subject to severe criticisms, and exhibit serious defects which invalidate them.

– Certain scientific articles admit explicitly that scientists do not know how “HIV causes AIDS”. Although they try to fit data to this axiom, the data don’t fit.

– There is currently ongoing a phenomenon of collective misinformation, promoted by official medical and scientific organizations such as the National Institutes of Health in the United States, of which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a part most directly concerned with HIV and AIDS. Both the general press (e.g. the New York Times) and the scientific journals such as Nature and Science, propagate misinformation uncritically, and suppress information which goes against the orthodox position that “HIV is the virus that causes AIDS”.

– Questions about the orthodox view have not been properly answered, or even remain unanswered. When persons point to contradictions in publications coming from the orthodoxy, these persons get evasive answers or they do not get answers at all. I am one of those persons, and I have written a number of letters, for instance to the CDC Director, documenting contradictions in CDC publications.

Occasionally, a dissenting voice arises. Just a few years ago on 4 April 1994, The Scientist published an article by Robert Root-Bernstein, associate professor of physiology at Michigan State University, and former MacArthur Fellow. The article started on p. 1, and it was long, headlined by: “Agenda For U.S. AIDS Research Is Due For A Complete Overhaul.” He lists systematically a number of “false assumptions”, and his dissent from the orthodoxy had displayed statements such as:

We have not yet asked all the right questions.

We must consider how many of our notions about AIDS are biased by our preconceptions and are not trustworthy.

Diversity of opinion has never hurt science; dogmatism often has. The [AIDS] task force can foster one or the other — but not both.

The drug hypothesis. The first idea that came to the mind of medical researchers around 1980, when there occurred an increase of certain diseases in certain well-defined risk groups in the western world, is that this increase was due to drugs, of various kinds depending on the risk group. Be it noted here that different risk groups come down with different diseases, and are exposed to different drugs. Various drugs can be involved, ranging from sex-enhancing recreational drugs to HIV-inhibiting drugs such as AZT. The time period and the cumulative effect may also be factors involved in the causation. The situation may be similar to prolonged use or abuse of alcohol causing cirrhosis of the liver, or smoking causing lung cancer. This drug hypothesis was taken up again principally by Professor Peter Duesberg at the University of California at Berkeley. For instance, in a certain subculture of male homosexuals, the use of “poppers” (whose technical name is amyl nitrite) to reinforce sexual pleasure has been suggested as the cause of the increase of AIDS defining diseases such as Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) in this population. A study published in Nature (1993) claimed to show that drugs were not the cause. But after a re-analysis by Duesberg et al of the original data used for this study, it turned out that 100% of the people declared sick with AIDS by the authors of the study had taken drugs systematically, and especially “poppers” (nitrite inhalants). (Complete references are given in Challenges, pp. 642-643.) In England, poppers were declared illegal in 1996, precisely because of their link (correlation) with Kaposi’s sarcoma.

On 23 and 24 May 1994, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse sponsored a meeting on the toxic effects of nitrite inhalants. The meeting was not covered by the press, scientific or otherwise. Harry Haverkos, acting director for clinical research at that Institute, was chairman of the meeting. Because of his views about AIDS, he is a lone figure in U.S. health agencies. He emphasized the role of poppers in gay AIDS and according to an article in the journal Biotechnology (12 August 1994), he “reported an essentially exclusive correlation between nitrite use and gay KS. The hypothesis of Harold Jaffe (Acting Director of the AIDS Division of the CDC) that ‘an unknown infectious agent’ is the cause of KS could not be reconciled with Haverkos’ evidence that there was not a single confirmed case of KS from blood transfusions, which often contain infectious agents.”

Some scientists have proposed some experiments to test whether or not HIV is pathogenic, and also to test the counter hypothesis that drugs, in different forms and different circumstances, are the cause of different diseases defining AIDS according to the CDC. Duesberg is prominent among those who have proposed such experiments, but he cannot get the necessary funding from government agencies or universities in the United States to carry out these experiments. The experiments are partly epidemiological, and partly laboratory experiments on animals. The funding situation is so bad that his lab at Berkeley is now threatened with being closed down within a few months because he cannot get funding. For more details, see a paid advertisement by “Cal Friends of Duesberg” in the California Monthly (UC Alumni Magazine), February 1999. Although the editor was ready to publish an even longer article, he was overruled by higher powers who killed the article in galley proof stage.

Be it noted that Duesberg has also done cancer research which goes against the current orthodoxy. He cannot get funding either for this research in the United States. As a result, he has been spending more time in Germany, where he can get university funding and where he writes joint papers with German scientists.

Communication of information. One basic problem is to communicate a large amount of information to readers who cannot find this information in the standard media, including the scientific magazines and the mainstream press. I have written a detailed account of the situation in one 114 page chapter of Challenges. During this past year, even more evidence against the orthodox view has come to my attention. Although the present article has to recall briefly some items from my previous articles and from that chapter, I emphasize here material which developed too late for inclusion in Challenges, especially in sections §5, §6 and §7 dealing with publications in Nature Medicine, the Scientific American, and a so-called AIDS case in Maine. Hence the HIV chapter in Challenges and the present article are not substitutes for each other but complement each other.

Although I am a mathematician, I do not need to know biology to evaluate critically certain practices, which can be criticized simply from the point of view of ordinary scientific and rhetorical standards. Arthur Gottlieb, M.D., Chairman of the Microbiology/Immunology department at Tulane University, gave to the publishers a statement, reprinted at the end of my chapter, stating in part:

“In this chapter, Prof. Serge Lang has well documented the basis of this controversy [whether HIV is the cause of AIDS] and has provided a sobering picture for the reader of the polity of thinking that has characterized this field. For example, legitimate questions about the effects of HIV and the role of cofactors in the pathogenesis of the immune dysfunction that is the hallmark of AIDS remain unanswered by those who are the proponents of conventional thinking in this field. Models of how HIV and cells of the immune system replicate, which have not yet sustained the rigor of thorough scientific discussion and critique at both the biological and mathematical level, are accepted as if they were laws of nature. Major journals and scientific meetings have often failed to provide a forum for legitimate criticism of these models, and other issues pertaining to HIV. Lang points out that this is an abuse of the process by which science seeks to achieve a complete understanding of a problem…

As well, Lang asks to what extent are readers of scientific journals correctly informed of various points of view and do editors assert unreasonable control over the terms of disclosure in their journals? These are clearly important and disturbing questions. A review of the scenarios which Lang has painted should give the thoughtful reader pause as well as some insight into how doctrinaire thinking can develop and be perpetuated.”

I shall list a few of the problems which confront the HIV pathogenesis hypothesis.

§1. Circular official definition. First, one must realize that the official definition of AIDS in the United States is not scientifically neutral. It is circular. Since 1992, for instance, the CDC has an official list of 29 diseases. Among these, about 60% have to do with immuno deficiency but 40% do not (for instance diseases of cancer type, such as cervical cancer and Kaposi’s sarcoma). A low T-cell count is mentioned explicitly as only one of the 29 diseases. A person is then defined to have AIDS for surveillance reporting purposes if and only if this person has at least one of these diseases, and simultaneously tests HIV positive. With this definition, the correlation between HIV and AIDS is 100% because the definition assumes the correlation. Thus when two people have the same symptoms of sickness, if one is HIV positive the sickness is called AIDS, and if the other is not, then the sickness is given its ordinary name. In this way, the definition obstructs dealing with the question whether the virus HIV is a cause of any disease. Some medical practitioners or scientists follow the CDC definition and some do not. Usually articles on HIV and AIDS do not specify which definition is used. Under such circumstances, statistics purportedly showing that HIV is the cause of certain diseases are worthless, and misleading.

§2. Misleading and nonsensical CDC figures. The CDC December 1996 Surveillance Report provides a typical example of misleading statistics.

(a) A Number of Objections. I wrote to CDC Director David Satcher, listing concretely several of my objections. For example, right on the front page, there is a table headed:

Adults/adolescents living with AIDS, by quarter, January 1988 through

June 1996, adjusted for reporting delays, United States

The graph shows an increase between 1988 and 1996 from about 35,000 to about 220,000. There is a boxed statement, just below the graph:

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a specific group of diseases or conditions which are indicative of severe immunosuppression related to infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

What does “related” mean? Testing HIV positive on some test or other? Caused by HIV? With the use of the word “related”, we see fudging about the role of HIV, as well as another manifestation of the long standing circularity of CDC definitions.

Actually, the above definition, that the diseases or conditions defining AIDS “are indicative of severe immunosuppression”, is inconsistent with the December 1992 definition by the CDC, which defined AIDS to be any one of 29 diseases if and only if the person is also HIV positive. Indeed, one of the defining diseases is a low T-cell count, but about 40% of the 29 diseases defining AIDS in the 1992-1993 CDC list do not involve immunosuppression. For instance, Kaposi’s sarcoma and cervical cancer are not “indicative of severe immunosuppression”, but according to the December 1992 definition, they are among the AIDS defining diseases in the presence of HIV, including cases when there is no immunosuppression. So the definition on the front page of the December 1996 surveillance report is still a new definition, further contributing to the chaotic mess coming out of the CDC.

The wording of the title “living with AIDS” also contributes to the confusion. Does it mean being sick with certain clinical symptoms, or does it mean only being HIV positive? Is there an unstated assumption that such positivity necessarily leads to clinical symptoms of some kind and even death, or what? Is there a justification for such an assumption?

The CDC December 1996 Surveillance Report gives a cumulative figure of “581,429 persons with AIDS reported to CDC” (p. 5, first paragraph). Table 11 p. 17 purportedly reports “AIDS cases…diagnosed through December 1996, United States”. It arrives at such a figure by “cumulative totals”, so depending on three different definitions over 15 years, and depending on the use of “statistical methods” (p. 5, column 1, line -2), but without specifying what these methods were. Thus the figures are manipulated in some undetermined way. So the figure of 581,429 is nonsense, down to the last unit digit.

There are other fundamental problems with this figure. Table 11 purports to give a total number of “AIDS cases” per year 1993 through 1996, broken down into “definition categories”. Under the category “Severe HIV-related immunosuppression”, we find the cumulative total figure 151,131, which is about one-fourth of the 581,429 figure. On p. 36 the CDC explains that the category refers to people who have no symptoms of sickness except a low-T-cell count per se, which is called “AIDS” if and only if it is accompanied by HIV test positivity. The people involved are otherwise healthy.

It emerges further from Table 11’s breakdown that the cumulative numbers given on the front page graph of the CDC Report are very misleading. Indeed, Table 11 shows that if one follows only the 1987 definition, then the number of new “AIDS” cases goes down each year 1993 to 1996 from 28,265 to 8,227. By making up “cumulative” figures as on the front page graph, showing a purported increase from about 35,000 to 220,000, the CDC misrepresents the fact that their own figures using the 1987 definition show a large decline in annual numbers of AIDS cases. The apparent large increase is due to the 1992 change in the definition of “AIDS”, which among other things includes HIV positive people who have no symptoms of disease except a low T-cell count. Such people are called “asymptomatic”. When someone tests HIV positive, this person may not exhibit any symptoms of sickness, but that person’s T-cell count may be measured, and found low, thus giving rise to a diagnosis of “AIDS”. For example, Table 11 claims a total of 36,693 new cases of “AIDS” in 1996, while of these, 22,856 (about 2/3rd) belong to the category of those who show no sign of sickness except low T-cell count and who are HIV positive.

It should be a matter of common sense, let alone scientific standards, to compare T-cell counts in HIV positive and HIV negative people, in other words, to have control groups or what some scientists call “normative data”. The CDC does not provide figures on control groups, any more than some influential purportedly scientific papers, see below. Among the “false assumptions” listed in Root-Bernstein’s article, we find one relevant to HIV and immune suppression:

False Assumptions

…We thought we knew that HIV always precedes immune suppression in people who develop AIDS. But many studies show that lymphocyte counts are as low in some HIV-negative gay men, intravenous drug users, and hemophiliacs as they are in nonsymptomatic HIV-positive people – and sometimes lower.

The first sentence quoted above shows that Root-Bernstein uses the words “develop AIDS” in a sense different from that of the CDC, but left unspecified. The CDC Surveillance Report also introduces the terminology “HIV disease” as in the sentence (p. 5, column 2, line -4):

Through 1996, over 216,000 persons were living with AIDS…However, the cumulative number of persons living with AIDS underrepresents the number of living persons who have been diagnosed with HIV disease because most HIV-infected persons have not yet progressed to AIDS and many persons infected with HIV have not been tested.

There is no explanation of what “HIV disease” means, especially in relation to the 1992 CDC definition. The expression “HIV disease” contains several unstated assumptions, and if these are clarified, the expression may then be incompatible with the official 1992 CDC definition, or the above-mentioned boxed statement. The expression contributes to the general confusion. It also has the insidious effect of inducing people to accept unquestioningly the unstated axiom “HIV causes AIDS”, whatever this means. (See the UCB news release mentioned below in §5.)

(b) Defective reply from the CDC. I received a reply, not from David Satcher but from John W. Ward M.D., Chief of the Surveillance Branch of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. Dr. Ward did not address a single one of the specific criticisms of the Surveillance Report which I had made, nor did he resolve any of the specific problems and incompatibilities which I pointed out. He wrote me only about the boxed statement:

This statement is not, nor was it meant to be construed as, the CDC definition of AIDS. It also is not meant to be a proxy or substitute for the CDC definition of AIDS. Please understand that the “boxed” statement is meant to be a brief comment to serve as a general guide for those readers of the Surveillance Report who are neither prepared nor find it necessary to read the technical notes that accompany the report or follow the technical problems that arise in the models used to derive the report’s estimates.

I then pointed to an official “FACT SHEET”, issued by the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm). This so-called “Fact Sheet” contains a paragraph headed “Definition of AIDS”, essentially reproducing the boxed statement, as follows:

Definition of AIDS

The CDC currently defines AIDS in an adult or adolescent age 13 years or older as the presence of one of 25 conditions indicative of severe immunosuppression associated with HIV infection, such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), or HIV infection in an individual with a CD4+ T cell count less than 200/cells per cubic millimeter (mm3) of blood.

So I wrote back to Satcher: “Here is a contradiction. It’s not just my interpretation of the boxed statement. It is the official view of NIH-NIAID. Thus the NIAID “Fact Sheet” does not contain facts. It contains propaganda. It continues to provide evidence that you guys at NIH, CDC, NIAID can’t tell the difference between a fact and a hole in the ground.” I did not get a further reply from CDC officials.

§3. Correlation? Some in the orthodoxy claim that there is a “correlation” between the AIDS-defining diseases and the presence of antibodies to HIV, or possibly HIV itself. Even if one admits that such a correlation exists in some specific studies, independently of the above circular definition, a question arises: is HIV a cause or a coincidence? For example, it is generally admitted that smoking in fairly large doses over a fairly long period of time causes lung cancer. This is plausible. One of the main reasons (if not the only reason) for this hypothesis is a correlation between those who smoke a lot and those who develop cancer. But essentially the same correlation exists between lung cancer and yellow fingers. However, yellow fingers do not cause lung cancer. Thus it is essential to answer the question: is HIV a yellow finger?

As already noted in the introduction, some studies show an even higher correlation of AIDS defining diseases and drug use, for instance Kaposi’s sarcoma and nitrite inhalants (poppers). Cf. Challenges.

§4. Paradoxes and no control groups. Furthermore, aside from a claimed correlation between HIV and AIDS (whichever way AIDS is defined) in certain studies, there is no verification that HIV is pathogenic. Some purportedly scientific papers do assert that “HIV causes AIDS”, but no justification is given for this assertion.

Even worse, the hypothesis that HIV is pathogenic leads to what even some people representing the orthodoxy call “paradoxes”, that is incompatibility with experimental evidence.

So-called scientific articles about HIV and AIDS are written under the automatic assumption that HIV is the cause of certain diseases by killing CD4 T-cells. This hypothesis has been criticized by some medical scientists, even by some of those who uphold the orthodoxy’s axiom that “HIV causes AIDS”.

Some purportedly scientific papers about HIV infection actually do not compare the rate of T4 cells generated in the HIV positive patients with HIV negative controls any more than does the CDC. Among the most famous of such papers are those by David Ho and George Shaw, published in Nature (12 January 1995). The Australian mathematician-statistician Mark Craddock commented as follows on the Ho and Shaw papers in his critical article “HIV: Science by press conference” from the Kluwer collection:

Neither group compared the rate of T4 cells generated in the HIV positive patients with HIV negative controls! Both groups assert that in HIV infected individuals, up to 5% of the circulating T4 cells are replaced every 2 days. This information is hardly new. Peter Duesberg says something similar in a paper in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from 1989. Except he states that 5% of the bodies T cells will be replaced every 2 days, in healthy people.

The lack of control groups is one of the problems with the medical scientific literature, which does not provide appropriate comparisons between different groups (some sick, some not sick, some HIV positive, some HIV negative) to test the claimed correlation between HIV and AIDS.

A letter to the editors. Among others who have objected to the lack of control groups are Bukrinsky, Manogue and Cerami (Picower Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset NY), the authors of a letter to Nature (18 May 1995, p. 195), concerning the Ho and Shaw papers. They stated: “A definitive answer awaits accurate estimates of the turnover and half-life of both proliferating and peripheral CD4+ T cells in healthy individuals, normative data for which the immunological community strangely lacks a robust appraisal.” Ho and Shaw answered the Bukrinsky et al comment quoted above as follows (p. 198): “…we do not understand their logic of comparing our calculated CD4 lymphocyte turnover rates with previous estimates for normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells…” But the logic seems clear to me. I wrote directly to Bukrinsky that in plain English, the fact that turnover of T-cells is the same in Ho & Shaw’s CD lymphocytes as in previous estimates for peripheral blood as in mononuclear cells, constitutes clear evidence that HIV is neither the cause of T-cell destruction, nor of harm to the immune system. The lack of control groups and the lack of “robust appraisal” has caused a systematic bias for the interpretation of the data in favor of HIV pathogenesis. Thus I don’t find the lack of control groups “strange”; I find it highly objectionable. It provides direct evidence for not trusting results which claim to analyze HIV pathogenesis. I asked Bukrinsky to straighten me out if I was mistaken. I did not get a reply from him.

§5. Contradictory models: Ho and Shaw; Pakker et al, Gorochov et al, Roederer; Hellerstein et al. Ho and Shaw (among other authors) engage in the practice of throwing math and statistics at people, pretending to give a mathematical model for HIV infection and its purported effects, namely the destruction of CD4 T-cells. There is developing a substantial history of criticisms of these papers. We have already mentioned some criticisms in the preceding section, concerning control groups. We now list other criticisms which have developed over the last five years.

1994. Root-Bernstein. A year before the Ho and Shaw article in Nature, one of the “false assumptions” listed by Root-Bernstein concerned the killing of T-cells by HIV, and was challenged as follows:

False Assumptions

…An example of something we thought we knew, but did not, is that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the direct cause of T-cell killing in AIDS. Even such formerly stalwart proponents of this notion as Anthony Faucy and Robert Gallo now admit that this is not the case. Virtually all HIV research is now focused on finding indirect mechanisms by which HIV may cause immune suppression.

1995. Letters to the editor in Nature. Already on 18 May 1995, Nature published six pages of letters to the editor. Many of these letters represented various forms of criticisms of the Ho and Shaw articles, such as the one by Bukrinsky mentioned above. As another example, the medical scientists Ascher et al had a letter (p. 196), stating that “those who would see AIDS as a more-or-less conventional viral infection have consistently refused to recognize the paradoxes that are clearly evident in the experimental data. The problem continues.” They mention a specific “paradox”, that “there are more bodies than bullets [HIV]”.

1996. Mark Craddock in his Kluwer collection article wrote: “The logic [of Ho and Shaw] here is remarkable. It is claimed that HIV sends the immune system into overdrive as measured by a supposedly accelerated production of T4 cells…But where are the healthy controls? How can this production of T cells be ascribed to HIV if there is no comparison made with healthy people? And even if there were a comparison, how can the production be unambiguously attributed to the ‘battle’ with HIV? The patients in both study groups were being treated with new drugs such as Nevarapine (we are naturally told nothing of possible toxic side effects of these drugs) whose effects are largely unknown. So how can these results be extrapolated to HIV positive people who are not taking these drugs? It must surely be admitted that the system they are trying to study, namely the interaction of HIV with T4 cells, might behave substantially differently in people who are not being pumped full of new drugs, in addition to ‘antiretrovirals’ like Zidovudine [AZT]? Yet HIV ‘science’ has declined so far that these elementary questions are addressed neither by the research groups themselves, nor the referees at Nature whose job it is to critique the papers before publication.”

1997. Arthur Gottlieb wrote to me on 16 May 1997: “I might say that I have been skeptical of the validity of the Ho/Shaw model for several reasons, but principally because it is based on observations in subjects who were therapeutically perturbed by use of a protease inhibitor…I think there is more than a matter of scientific debate here…The Ho/Shaw model is now a widely accepted paradigm for HIV pathogenesis. Moreover, it is being used as a basis for therapeutic guidelines in respect of HIV (“treat early and hard”). That, I think is of concern, if indeed there are serious questions about the validity of the model. It would be good to have your views on this.”

My view is that the model is not rooted in experimental evidence, it is incompatible with experimental evidence in certain respects, and it does not take into account the possibly toxic effects of drugs in general and prescription drugs in particular. Cf. the previous items.

1998. Pakker et al., Gorochov et al., Mario Roederer. In any case more fundamental criticisms have arisen, some even coming from members of the orthodoxy. In February 1998, Nature Medicine published two technical articles and one commentary by Mario Roederer, a professor at the Stanford Medical School, who wrote (p. 145):

In this issue of Nature Medicine, reports by Pakker et al and Gorochov et al provide the final nails in the coffin for models of T cell dynamics in which a major reason for changes in T cell numbers is the death of HIV-infected cells.

On the other hand, Roederer (like other critics of the Ho et al article) accepted uncritically the axiom that HIV destroys the immune system, but he provided no justification for this axiom. At the same time he recognized that he and other medical scientists do not know how HIV destroys the immune system, when he concluded:

Finally, the facts (1) that HIV uses CD4 as its primary receptor, and (2) that CD4+ T cell numbers decline during AIDS, are only an unfortunate coincidence that have led us astray from understanding the immunopathogenesis of this disease. HIV leads to the progressive destruction of all T cell subsets, irrespective of CD4 expression. Ultimately, AIDS is a disease of perturbed homeostasis. Only when we understand how the body regulates T cell numbers will we be able to find the mechanism(s) by which HIV destroys the immune system.

Roederer’s assertion “HIV leads to the progressive destruction of all T cell subsets” was and remains unsupported. What does “lead” mean, and what is the evidence for the assertion if “leads” means “causes in some fashion”? No evidence is given in the Roederer article.

1999. Hellerstein et al. Bay Area medical centers findings inconsistent with the Ho and Shaw articles. A year later, Nature Medicine (January 1999) published further criticisms of the David Ho article, partly reinforcing Roederer’s “nail in the coffin”, and partly going in other directions. These criticisms came from researchers Hellerstein et al at San Francisco General Hospital, UCSF and UC Berkeley.

(a) Accelerated production or destruction of CD4+ T cells? The Ho and Shaw articles in Nature had claimed an original increase of T-cell production following HIV infection, in conjunction with high replication of the HIV virus. The Ho et al article concluded: “Taken together, our findings strongly support the view that AIDS is primarily a consequence of continuous, high-level replication of HIV-1, leading to virus- and immune-mediated killing of CD4 lymphocytes.” On the other hand, Hellerstein et al write in opposition to these claims:

p. 87. The CD4 lymphopenia of HIV-infection was associated with reduced survival (shorter half-life) of CD4+ T cells in the circulation combined with an inability to increase production of CD4 cells in compensation. Although we cannot identify the reason for the failure to increase CD4+ T-cell production…our results are inconsistent with a highly accelerated destruction of circulating CD4+ T cells that overcomes a higher than normal total production rate…

Of course, it becomes important to determine the reasons for the discrepancy between the Ho-Shaw articles and the Hellerstein article. Do they have to do with differences in the people in their samples? With samples which are not statistically significant? With different techniques? With unrecognized artifacts? Ad lib.

In any case, like Roederer, the authors of the new study in Nature Medicine accept HIV pathogenesis as an unquestioned axiom. They interpret the data in this context. But the data do not provide evidence for the axiom. The findings do NOT show that a shorter half-life and inability to increase production of CD4+ cells is due to HIV (according to Hellerstein et al.).

(b) HIV causality? HAART? Clinical measurements were done on a rather small sample of 21 people, classified into three groups: nine “healthy” HIV negative subjects (six men and three women) who were not taking any medications; seven HIV positive subjects (six men and one woman) with a low CD4 level; and five HIV positive men who had received HAART (highly active anti-retroviral therapy) for 12 weeks. All in the group were called “patients” in a UC press release and subsequent newspaper article (see below). Which ones of the latter two categories were actually patients in the ordinary sense of the word (sick in bed, in bad shape)? How was the sample of non-“healthy” (sick?) subjects (patients?) selected? Was it according to the circular CDC definition, so they are all automatically HIV positive, thereby biasing the statistics? How do the researchers know that HIV and not some other agent such as poppers caused “reduced survival (a shorter half-life)” of CD4+ T-cells? Was a low T-cell count the only sign of non-healthyness (sickness?) or were there other signs? In which sample category (“patients”)? How many of the “healthy” resp. non-healthy or sick-in-bed people in the sample had taken poppers (resp. other drugs) and in what quantity over what period of time? Was there even a single “patient” (sick-in-bed, other?) who was not exposed to poppers (resp. some other drug)? None of these questions are addressed. The apparently gratuitous assumption that HIV is the cause (and only cause) of non-healthyness (sickness?) in the people forming the sample biases the data and prejudices the way conclusions are formulated.

Similar criticisms have been applied before to a 1993 study based on a sample from the San Francisco Men’s Health Club. My first Yale Scientific article (Fall 1994) dealt with this matter. Cf. my book Challenges, the chapter on HIV and AIDS, pp. 642-648. There I give complete references to the original study in Nature, and to the criticisms by Ellison, Downey and Duesberg, first published in Genetica (1995) and reproduced in the Kluwer collection. They found that 100% of the sick men in the sample had used nitrites, while 83% were HIV positive.

The “uninfected control group” of Hellerstein et al was a group of people called “healthy”. To answer the question whether it is HIV or other factors such as poppers (nitrite inhalants) or other drugs which cause certain diseases in certain risk groups, an “uninfected control group” of healthy people is much less relevant than a control group consisting of HIV-negative people who are sick with the same symptoms as HIV-positive people called “AIDS patients” (see below). Actually, one has to take into account all possible combinations of HIV positive, HIV negative, poppers taking, poppers non-taking (as well as other drugs).

One also has to take into account the role of prescription drugs. Are HIV negative but sick people with the same symptoms also treated with AZT and protease inhibitors? What is the effect on T-cells of AZT, or protease inhibitors, or whatever purportedly anti-HIV prescription was administered to the AIDS patients?

(c) Effect of anti-retroviral drugs. The data given in the Hellerstein et al article show that T-cell turnover increases in the group exposed to anti-retroviral drugs. Hellerstein et al’s data concern in part the effect of HAART. At least three assertions in the Hellerstein et al paper not only go against previous interpretations of data as in the Ho and Shaw articles, but support the hypothesis that HAART is toxic and harms the immune system:

p. 84. The total (CD4+ and CD8+) T cell production rate was significantly higher in the subjects of HAART… than in the untreated HIV-1 seropositive group…or in the HIV-1 seronegative group…The main kinetic difference in the HAART group was therefore higher production rates of circulating T-cells and shorter (not longer) half-lives…

p. 85. This analysis confirms that the rate of removal of CD4+ T cells is indeed elevated and the half-life is indeed shortened in the HAART group…

p. 86. The results are not consistent with other possibilities, including prolonged survival of circulating T cells due to cessation of HIV-mediated killing (because the half-life of circulating T cells was shorter, not longer, in the HAART Group);…

Thus the data point in the same direction as the Drug-AIDS hypothesis, and are compatible with this hypothesis and with the hypothesis that HIV itself is not a cause of diseases and does not affect T-cell longevity, namely “reduced survival (half life)”. Figures in support of the results are shown in a table p. 86. However, overall this table is subject to many questions as to the meaning of terms used and possible statistical and scientific bias. For instance, the data concern the three groups: “Normal controls”, “HIV+(viremic)”, and “HAART (12 weeks)”. The “normal controls” are “healthy”. The “viremic” is supposed to refer to “viral load”, but no HIV virus is ever directly measured in patients. What is measured is something which is then interpreted as a virus which engages somehow in a deadly battle with the immune system. In any case, the use made of the HIV+(viremic) group in the table as far as one can tell is based on the same circularity as the CDC definition of AIDS, with its assumption of HIV pathogenesis and causality, which prevents an unbiased evaluation whether it is HIV or another factor (e.g. drugs) which cause sickness.

Then one faces contradictory interpretations, such as those of Ho and the Bay Area researchers, but the debate does not extend to questioning HIV pathogenesis.

The Rasnick letter to the editors. David Rasnick, President of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of HIV/AIDS, submitted for publication a 400-words letter to the editors of Nature Medicine in January 1999. Based on the authors’ analysis (see especially p. 85 cited above), he wrote: “In other words, HAART is accomplishing what HIV is supposed to be doing, i.e. shortening the survival time of T cells…HAART…may represent yet another toxic consequence of combination therapy. If this explanation is correct, it should be easily tested in HIV negative volunteers or animals.”

David Rasnick’s letter was acknowledged, but rejected for publication.

Science by press conference. Some findings of Hellerstein et al were brought to broader public attention in a press release on 4 January 1999, followed by an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. I quote from them to document further the way people at large are conditioned to think about HIV and AIDS. We start with the press release.

NEWS RELEASE, 1/4/99

University of California at Berkeley

Major clinical findings by California AIDS team: HIV does more than kill off T-cells

By Corinna Kaarlela, UC San Francisco News Office

BERKELEY – A team of California AIDS researchers has found the first direct clinical evidence that HIV does more than kill off T cells in the body’s immune system. The skillful virus also prevents the production of new healthy versions of these vital cells…

The findings are significant in understanding the puzzle of T-cell turnover in the HIV population, an area that has remained controversial among leading AIDS researchers who have proposed different theories to explain why T-cell counts decrease during the course of HIV disease.

…The precise mechanism that HIV uses to derail the different parts of this process have been unclear, but the end result is a collapse of the immune system that makes the body vulnerable to the opportunistic infections that cause full-blown AIDS.

It had been previously thought by many investigators that HIV decreased the T-cell count by causing the destruction of these cells. The new studies indicate that a more important contribution to disease may be the ability to stop T-cell production…

Study participants included both men and women, and all were patients in the General Clinical Research Center at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center…

Major findings include:…

*In untreated HIV-positive patients, CD4 and CD8 cells were being destroyed at a more rapid pace than in HIV negative subjects and the body did not compensate by increasing the rate of production above the normal rate. Accordingly the T-cell count decreased.

*In HIV-positive patients whose virus was suppressed by potent therapy and whose T-cell counts increased, the rate of new cell production increased dramatically. The rise in new cell production was responsible for the increase in T-cell count…

Readers acquainted with facts will appreciate the above tendentious account, starting with the expressions “does more than kill off T-cells” and “skillful virus”. Note especially that the press release made no mention of the possible toxic effect of HAART, and misrepresented measured signs in the HAART group, namely decrease of the half life of T-cells and increase of their turnover rate.

The claims of Hellerstein et al countering those of David Ho (among others) were then reported in the San Francisco Chronicle (5 January 1999), about 1,500 words starting on the front page.

Study Offers New Theory On How HIV Attacks Cells

Findings contradict widely held view

By Carl T. Hall, CHRONICLE SCIENCE WRITER

Using a new technique for tracking the life and death of immune cells, Bay Area AIDS researchers have found that HIV causes the deadly disease primarily by blocking the production and shortening the survival time of infection-fighting T cells.

That runs counter to the widely held view among AIDS scientists that HIV strikes mainly by killing T cells, the body’s front-line defenders, as fast as the immune system can produce them…The controversial new findings include the first direct measurements showing how the human immune system becomes locked in a lethal battle with the AIDS virus. The results challenge a core tenet in the scientific dogma of AIDS, a view that has dominated the field ever since a landmark 1995 study co-authored by famed New York AIDS expert David Ho…

They [the authors of the Nature Medicine article] spent more than a year studying immune systems in healthy people and in 21 AIDS patients being treated at San Francisco General Hospital. This produced what the authors described as the first direct clinical measurements of immune system activity both in AIDS patients and an uninfected control group.

Results found no T-cell speed-up-and-collapse pattern in the infected people. What researchers found instead was that, along with reduced cell longevity, the virus caused slower cell production – the opposite of what had been assumed to occur during this critical stage of the disease.

– The Chronicle’s expression “slower cell production” is not accurate. Hellerstein et al write of “reduced survival (shorter half-life)” and “inability to increase production of CD4+ cells in compensation”.

– The findings do not show “how the human immune system becomes locked in a lethal battle with the AIDS virus” nor do they show that the virus caused “slower cell production”.

– There were not “21 AIDS patients”. In the group of 21 people studied by Hellerstein et al, 9 were characterized as “healthy”, so at most 12 could be regarded as “patients” in the ordinary sense of the word.

– The original Nature-Medicine article does not use the terms “AIDS” or “AIDS patients”. The authors write of HIV-positive or negative people, so the journalist goes beyond them in communicating interpretations to the public at large. He is to some extent following the UC press release, which does refer to “patients”.

– The Chronicle, like the UC press release, does not report any of the data showing that HAART may be toxic.

– Like Roederer, Hellerstein et al, and the UC press release, the journalist of the Chronicle accepts unquestioningly the axiom of HIV pathogenesis.

The direct criticisms coming from the Roederer and Hellerstein et al articles and the publicity given to the latter by the San Francisco Chronicle show that it is now sociologically acceptable in some important establishment quarters to dump on David Ho et al’s January 1995 Nature article. To question the HIV pathogenesis hypothesis is another matter, which still entails social, scientific and financial ostracism when coming from someone inside the bio-medical establishment.

§6. Defective journalism. I don’t know of any wide repercussion of the January 1999 Nature-Medicine Hellerstein article in the mainstream press other than in the SF Chronicle. For example, as of the end of January 1999, the New York Times to my knowledge did not report the conclusions of those researchers in the Bay area. Thus newspapers at large skew the information which they communicate to their readers, including the information that different researchers come to different conclusions. Just on this basis, one is entitled to be skeptical about the basic undocumented assumption that HIV is pathogenic. Science (15 January 1999, p. 305) did report the different conclusions, but the article is also subject to most of the other criticisms I have leveled above against the press release and SF Chronicle.

Scientific American. Magazines in between the ordinary mainstream press and the technical journals like Science and Nature have gone along with the orthodoxy, for instance Scientific American which over the last few years has published two long reports on HIV and AIDS. The second in July 1998 was 27 pages long. It is contradicted by the articles which I have cited above, among other items which to list in full would take a book. For instance, the Scientific American July 1998 Report starts p. 81: “Ten years ago…scientists knew that the disease [AIDS]…was caused by HIV.” The Roederer conclusion contradicts this assertion, since Roederer recognizes that we don’t know “the mechanism(s) by which HIV destroys the immune system”, and contributes to the public correction of false notions about the effect of HIV on T-cells (cf. his “nail in the coffin”). Later in the Scientific American Report p. 85 we find: “At the start of an infection, hefty viral replication and the killing of CD4 T cells are made manifest both by high levels of HIV in the blood and by a dramatic drop in CD4 T cell concentrations from the normal level of at least 800 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.” This is contradicted by Root-Bernstein’s evaluation of “false assumptions” (see §2), by Roederer’s conclusions (“nail in the coffin”) based on Pakker-Gorochov, and by the subsequent Hellerstein et al article in Nature Medicine January 1999 reported in the SF Chronicle.

In addition we can also quote further from the 1994 article by Root-Bernstein in The Scientist:

We also thought we knew that HIV alone is sufficient to cause AIDS. But such researchers as Luc Montagnier, Shyh-Ching Lo, Joseph Sonnabend, and many others — including me — now believe that cofactors are necessary and, therefore, that HIV by itself cannot cause AIDS.

Thus if one follows up the scientific and semi-scientific literature, one systematically encounters contradictions.

Be it said in passing that I also have a problem with Root-Bernstein’s use of the expression “now believe”. What is the significance of such an expression? I am not concerned with “beliefs” but with evidence. I would prefer a clear sentence concerning the evaluation of evidence by him and the others he mentions, even though there is an implication that what he and the others believe would not go against empirical evidence. Throwing in “cofactors” is another way to blur distinctions between an assumption, a fact, a hypothesis, a belief, and empirical evidence about which factors cause or do not cause AIDS defining diseases.

The Rasnick letter to the editors. David Rasnick submitted for publication a letter to the editors of Scientific American. He listed some of the false statements in the Scientific American report, and pointed to contradictions with the Pakker-Gorochov-Roederer publication in Nature Medicine. He asked for evidence to support some other statements.

Rasnick also commented on the contribution to the report by John Mellors, who had written that “viral-load measures have therefore replaced assessment of clinical outcome in therapeutic trials…” Thus according to Mellors, medical prescriptions are made on the assumption that whatever sickness exists or may develop is due to a virus. In this way, not only is the definition of AIDS circular, but medical decisions having life and death consequences are based on this circularity. As Rasnick wrote in his letter to the editors: “If Mellors is correct, then whether patients live longer or do better when taking experimental drugs compared to drug-free controls is no longer the basis for determining the efficacy and safety of drugs. This is a frightening prospect.”

A translation into french of the Scientific American report was published in September 1998 by Pour la Science, thus spreading the propaganda over the ocean. At the same time, Pour la Science refused publication of some critical comments which I had communicated to them concerning that report. In particular, they took no account of Rasnick’s letter to the editors.

Rasnick’s letter was neither acknowledged nor published by Scientific American, whose November 1998 issue contained only two printed letters to the editor concerning the July report on HIV/AIDS. These letters were preceded by an editorial commentary at the top of the page:

Readers appreciated the July special report, “Defeating AIDS: What Will it Take?” Dave Toms wrote via e-mail, “Thanks so much for the excellent articles on what’s happening with HIV…And John Casten sent e-mail about taking a copy on a trip to Kathmandu: “I gave it to a friend who works for Family Health International in the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Program. He was thrilled to read all the articles with the latest information and passed it around the office.”

Thus the commentary cited two self-serving favorable reactions from readers in addition to those two whose letters were printed. No mention was made of any letters which criticized the report, let alone mention of the Rasnick letter. The last sentence of the editorial commentary is dishonest by omission when it states: “Some readers did have questions, however, about the possibility of developing a vaccine and feasible prevention methods (below).” Not only did some readers have questions about developing a vaccine, but some readers had questions and documentation about the factual (in)accuracy of statements in the Scientific American report, as well as critical comments about using viral load instead of clinical symptoms to evaluate the effectiveness of drugs. Thus Scientific American continues its tendentiously selective journalism, by not informing its readers of:

– published information raising questions about the orthodox view, as in the Pakker-Gorochov articles analyzed by Roederer in Nature Medicine February 1998;

– specific criticisms raised in certain letters to the editor, such as the Rasnick letter.

§7. Efficacy and safety of prescription drugs. The Emerson case in Maine. Medical prescription drugs may also be the cause of diseases attributed to HIV. As already mentioned, the higher T-cell turnover in patients subjected to HAART (see §5(c)) points in the same direction as the drug hypothesis. If a person tests HIV positive, some doctors prescribe AZT, which is a DNA chain terminator. There is some evidence that AZT may then cause that person to become sick and possibly die.

For example, recently in the State of Maine in the USA, a woman Valerie Emerson with four children was HIV positive, as well as her 3 year old daughter and 4 year old son. The other two children did not test positive. The two who were positive were declared to have AIDS and were prescribed AZT. The little girl died, suffering terribly. Her death was attributed to AIDS by the newspapers. The son Nikolas had some health problems since birth (swollen lymph glands, physical development problems). However, some doctors said he had AIDS, and he was given AZT. He then became seriously ill. The mother discontinued the AZT treatment, and the son became well. The pre-AZT problems themselves disappeared. However, officials of the State of Maine then started legal action against the mother to take the child away from her. In September 1998, a judge ruled against the officials. The boy is now running around like any healthy four year old. As the mother wrote to Rasnick: “I was so scared my son’s life was going to be sacrificed for research.” (Her full letter and details of the case are reproduced in Reappraising AIDS, October 1998, p. 5.) The judge wrote in his ruling:

She feels that she has willingly and in good faith surrendered up the life of one child to the best treatment medicine has to offer and does not want to do the same with the next… She has placed her faith in this medical approach in the past and has lost a child. She has discontinued her own treatment with no apparent present ill-effects. She has observed an outward improvement in her sick son’s condition with a discontinuance of drug therapy. The State of Maine is now in no position to tell her in the face of her unique experience that she is wrong in her current judgment to wait for better and more reliable treatment methods… the current body of information available to any mother in her situation is limited or conflicting. The court agrees with Nikolas’s treating family physician that his mother’s decision, while not necessarily the one many parents may make in the same circumstances, does not constitute serious parental neglect.

The judge’s ruling gave rise to an Associated Press item, and to subsequent news articles. The New York Times reported the case on 20 September 1998 somewhat tendentiously. As a result, David Rasnick wrote a letter to the editors, stating:

…I wish to correct a few misleading statements…the author made Nikolas’ suffering from 10 weeks of AZT poisoning appear benign: “…in that time he became fussy, whimpered in his sleep and suffered from continuous stomach aches.” The author failed to mention that during the 10 weeks Nikolas was on AZT he experienced “night terrors” from which he woke screaming…

…his knees grew to twice their normal size when he was on AZT, he even required a blood transfusion because the AZT was destroying his bone marrow. Most importantly within a couple of days (not “two months”) after [his mother] Valerie stopped giving Nikolas the AZT, his health immediately improved…

…the author softened my testimony: “Two scientists, testifying on behalf of Miss Emerson at the daylong trial, said that the recommended treatment of a combination of medications administered as a drug cocktail could cause more harm than good.” What I really said was much stronger: those drugs would kill Nikolas. I also testified that if Nikolas does not take those anti-HIV drugs he has the same likelihood as any other 4 year-old of reaching a ripe old age.

Rasnick’s letter was not published.

§8. Withholding information. Articles outside the mainstream press. The mainstream mass media withhold data and information which may lead people to question the orthodoxy about the pathogenesis of HIV, and to wonder about the effects of prescription drugs such as AZT. They do not report the uncertainties contained in articles such as the Pakker-Gorochov-Roederer articles (with exceptions such as the article by the SF Chronicle mentioned in §5 above on Hellerstein et al.). They do not report, let alone answer, articles published by some medical scientists outside the regular medical or scientific journals, such as those published by a bunch of German and Swiss medical scientists in the dissenting magazine Continuum (from 1996 to 1998, cf. the bibliography). The authors include Alfred Hässig, Professor Emeritus at the University of Bern and former Director of the Swiss Red Cross Transfusion Service and former President of the Board of Trustees of the International Society of Blood transfusion; and Heinrich Kremer, M.D., former medical director of the Specialist Clinic for Juvenile and Young Adult Drug Offenders for five German counties, including Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg. With colleagues, Hässig formed the Study Group for Nutrition and Immunity in Bern, Switzerland. This Study Group has occasionally given support to Continuum. The article in Continuum is headlined by the statement:

The continuous failure in the prevention and treatment of AIDS is rooted in the misinterpretation of an inflammatory autoimmune process as a lethal, viral venereal disease

Most of the article is written in fairly technical language. It is five magazine pages long, plus one page of technical bio-medical references. The authors question the HIV/AIDS orthodoxy in many respects. Here is a sample of some least technical sentences:

AIDS patients quite often demonstrate a weakening of their skeletal muscles. Up to 1990 this was considered a H1-virus-caused impairment of muscles. In 1990 Dalakas et al demonstrated that this kind of muscle disease is due to an administration of AZT, weakening the mitochondria within muscle cells. With the excessive release of free radicals the mitochondria are affected in their function of forming ATP as key substance in metabolic energy.56 …

During the latest international congress of leading HIV scientists the long-term criticism of the HIV/AIDS theory has been confirmed: despite intense and precise investigations there was no proof of pathophysiological mechanism explaining the different reaction of CD4- and CD8- lymphocytes to the postulated retrovirus HIV.48 It was literally stated: “The riddle of CD4 cell loss remains unresolved.”

The last sentence of the article repeats the conclusion of the headline: “Obviously AIDS is not a viral venereal disease, but an inflammatory autoimmune process.”

I am disturbed to see articles by personalities with strong medical credentials such as Kremer and Hässig in Continuum rather than in the mainstream magazines such as Scientific American, or the mainstream newspapers such as the New York Times. The July 1998 Scientific American HIV/AIDS Report is contradicted not only by the Pakker-Gorochov-Roederer articles, but also by the above mentioned Continuum article and its footnoted documentation. If Scientific American and the New York Times opened their pages to informed people with a substantial technical background, and to an open, documented discussion instead of being conduits for a powerful orthodoxy, there would be no need for a publication such as Continuum. Scientific American or the New York Times would be upholding classical standards of scientific discourse instead of acting like the purveyors of a religious dogma, with their ex-cathedra unsubstantiated assertions.

As it is, to get complementary or unskewed information about the HIV/AIDS situation, one has to go to other publications, such as Continuum, Reappraising AIDS, and sporadic publications, for instance those containing articles by Celia Farber who used to publish in SPIN, and has recently published in Mothering magazine (September-October 1998, cf. Reappraising AIDS, September 1998, p. 4). Peggy O’Mara, editor of Mothering, preceded the Celia Farber articles with a strong and long editorial statement about journalistic responsibilities (2 pages), stating in part:

As a magazine that advocates for families, we feel a special responsibility to inform parents about new information as soon as we verify it. While customs and fashions change, we as parents are the only ones who will live with our decisions. And our healthcare decisions can have long-ranging effects…

A vigorous public debate is the cornerstone of a democratic society. Facilitating this debate is the responsibility of a free press…As parents we can’t afford to be satisfied with easy answers or assumed facts. We have to verify our facts. The lives of our family members may depend on it…

It is in the context of this responsibility – and with full awareness of my enormous privilege as a journalist – that we present in this issue a controversial look at HIV, AIDS, and AZT…

While new drugs and new procedures often save lives, the only protection we have as consumers from those that do not is informed consent…

The requirements for informed consent are as follows: 1. The practitioner must disclose all information, including risks and benefits, that a reasonable person would need to know in order to make a decision. 2. The one consenting must be competent and must understand the information provided. 3. The consent must be given voluntarily and without coercion. Typically, some practitioners will doubt the capacity of their patients to make rational, informed decisions. However, this claim is not supported by evidence…

Current treatment of HIV-positive mothers violates all known standards of informed consent as set down by US jurisprudence, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, and the International Childbirth Education Association. Because pregnancy is one of 64 “conditions” that can cause a woman to falsely test positive for HIV, many pregnant women with no risk factors or symptoms will be subjected to the standard treatment for HIV, treatment that can put their lives and the lives of their babies at risk.

The hysteria over HIV and AIDS violates the sacredness of the pregnant woman and the newborn and overrides standards of informed consent that are decades old, as well as almost 85 years of legally guaranteed autonomy and self-determination. It is with deep concern that we present a minority look at the impossible choices facing HIV-positive pregnant women.

The Celia Farber articles themselves discuss the problems which arise from the enforcement of the orthodoxy and the “impossible choices”, especially preventing breast feeding from mothers testing HIV positive and forcing mothers to give AZT to an HIV-positive child under the threat that the child will be taken away if the mother does not do so. Celia Farber challenges the position of Dr. Ellen Cooper, principal researcher of Women and Infants Transmission Study (an ongoing federal research program), that “HIV is always fatal”, and that the risks of AZT are “minimal”.

Her articles contain a one-page statement headed “Does HIV Cause AIDS?”, and starting: “The notion that the HIV virus may not be the real cause of AIDS leaves some people dumbfounded, and others furious.” The statement concludes: “Although he has been harshly derided and denounced for his views – his once-generous funding has been cut off – Duesberg is far from alone in his views…At present the debate is at a standstill. The HIV hypothesis reigns, and most AIDS scientists are obliged to view Duesberg and the other HIV dissenters as deluded. But as more people live with an HIV-positive status without getting sick, many observers inside the medical community and without are beginning to think maybe Duesberg isn’t the one who is deluded after all.” That Mothering is now publishing such dissenting information about HIV represents a great journalistic advance in making questions about HIV available to the public.

When magazines such as Scientific American and newspapers such as the New York Times, do not publish “a minority look” (well-documented) at “impossible choices” and at aspects of HIV which go against the orthodoxy, they are obstructing the possibility for the public to make informed decisions.

By not publishing information going counter to the orthodoxy, the mainstream media may be causing a great deal of harm, medical or psychological, in many ways. They also lose their credibility because one has to look elsewhere for information countering the HIV orthodoxy.

Dangerous? Sometimes when I have given a talk on HIV, questioning the orthodoxy, members of the bio-medical establishment have not come to my talk and have refused to answer scientific questions, giving to colleagues the reason that what I do “is dangerous”. But I regard as dangerous to censor or suppress information, and to allow a situation to develop when people appear unable to distinguish between facts and an orthodox view. The orthodox view is accepted uncritically by people at large as a result of mass conditioning by the media’s uncritical acceptance of the scientific orthodoxy, and the refusal to publish information which goes counter to the orthodoxy. It may also be dangerous not to tell people that poppers may be dangerous to their health.

Conclusion. Of course, there are still many items that I have not discussed: different risk groups (e.g. haemophiliacs, intravenous drug users), what is called AIDS in other parts of the world (e.g. Africa), more cases of contradictions in official statistics from various sources (especially the CDC and the World Health Organization) over two decades, etc. Some of these items are discussed in Challenges. However, the items I have included in the present article will give readers an idea of the numerous objections which have been made against the hypothesis of HIV pathogenesis and the axiom that “HIV causes AIDS”. Interested persons can also consult the forthcoming survey of the drug-AIDS hypothesis by Duesberg and Rasnick in Genetica, with updated references. They can also consult Continuum and Reappraising AIDS on an ongoing basis.

SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF DISSENT

PUBLICATIONS ON HIV

P. DUESBERG and D. RASNICK, The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus,

Genetica 104 (1998) pp. 85-142;

see also Duesberg’s web site: www.duesberg.com

A. HÄSSIG MD, H. KREMER MD, S. LANKA PhD, W-X LIANG MD, K. STAMPFLI MD,

15 Years of AIDS, Continuum Vol 5 No. 3, spring 1998 pp. 33-37

[The footnoted references 11-14 in the above article are papers published by these authors

in the more technical journal Schweiz Zschr Ganzheits Med in 1996 and 1997.]

H. KREMER, S. LANKA & A. HÄSSIG, AIDS: Death by Prescription,

Continuum July/August 1996; see also

http://members.aol.com/mleiwissen/klhprot.htm

Continuum , 172 Foundling Court, Brunswick Center, London WC1N 1QE England

Reappraising AIDS, publication of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the

HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, 7514 Girard Ave #1-331, La Jolla Calif 92037

(philpott@wwnet.com) (734-467-7339)

What we liked best of all about Lang was that he applied the same high standards he demanded of others to himself. Every sentence of every communication he sent out to his privileged circle of academic colleagues, journalists and other fortunate recipients of his largesse could be relied upon for absolute accuracy of phrasing and fact.

In fact, it must be said that he was a perfectionist in the matter, perhaps too much so for any human being. The tributes to be paid tomorrow may throw light on the question, but there is some indication that poor Serge had too little tolerance for his own failings when age finally caught up with him, and he found that his mathematical brilliance was losing some of the light of its long burning flame.

One thing is sure: he never lost his fire for demanding honesty and integrity from those in positions of public trust and responsibility in scholarship and research, and in the respectable media. As yet no one has replaced him, and we fear probably no one ever will. His loss was a irreplaceable loss not just for Yale and mathematics, and for his ally Peter Duesberg, but, it is no exaggeration to say, for humanity at large.

The best biography is the Wiki entry on Lang.

Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running!

Serge Lang

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Serge Lang (May 19, 1927–September 12, 2005) was a French-born American mathematician. He was known for his work in number theory and for his mathematics textbooks, including the influential Algebra. He was a member of the Bourbaki group.

He was born in Paris in 1927, and moved with his family to California as a teenager. He graduated from CalTech in 1946, and received a doctorate from Princeton University in 1951. He had positions at the University of Chicago and Columbia University (from 1955, leaving 1971 in a dispute). At the time of his death he was professor emeritus of mathematics at Yale University.

Contents

[hide]

* 1 Mathematical work

* 2 Books

* 3 Awards as expositor

* 4 Character

* 5 Activism

* 6 External links

[edit]

Mathematical work

He was a student of Emil Artin at Princeton University. His thesis was on quasi-algebraic closure. He then worked on the geometric analogues of class field theory and diophantine geometry. Later he moved into diophantine approximation and transcendence theory.

A break in research while he was involved in trying to meet 1960s student activism half way caused him (on his own description) difficulties in picking up the threads. He wrote on modular forms and modular units, the idea of a ‘distribution’ on a profinite group, and value distribution theory.

He made a number of conjectures in diophantine geometry: Mordell-Lang conjecture, Bombieri-Lang conjecture, Lang’s integral point conjecture, Lang-Trotter conjecture, Lang conjecture on Gamma values, Lang conjecture on analytically hyperbolic varieties.

[edit]

Books

He was a prolific writer of mathematical texts, often completing one on his summer vacation. Most are at graduate level and aimed at those intending research in number theory. He wrote calculus texts and also prepared a book on group cohomology for Bourbaki.

Lang’s Algebra, a graduate-level introduction to abstract algebra, was a distinctive text that ran through numerous updated editions. It contained ideas of his teacher, Artin; some of the most interesting passages in Algebraic Number Theory, also, reflect Artin’s influence and ideas that might otherwise not have been published in that or any form. His textbooks were also noted for the originality of their problems, which drew on the Princeton and Bourbaki traditions. They were (in some cases) marred by mistakes. (Algebraic Numbers, the early form of Algebraic Number Theory, was particularly notorious, with one leading figure in the field saying that all copies should be burned.) For other reasons Lang’s work was sometimes criticised as ‘vulgarisation’, playing on the slightly different emphasis of this term in French and English.

According to one legend in circulation within the Princeton University math community during the 1970s, Lang typed one of his textbooks over a single weekend on a bet; he had military typing experience which contributed to his speed.

[edit]

Awards as expositor

Lang was noted for his eagerness for contact with students. He won a Leroy P Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition (1999) from the American Mathematical Society. In 1960, he won the sixth Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Algebra for his paper Unramified class field theory over function fields in several variables (Annals of Mathematics, Series 2, volume 64 (1956), pp. 285-325).

[edit]

Character

Lang was volatile and insistent. This laid him open to professional teasing (the comments in the book section have to be seen in this light), and personal ribbing. Lang: “My series of papers on modular units has one idea per paper.” Serre: “At most”. André Weil (once and only once a collaborator on a paper with Lang): “What Lang needs is a Japanese wife”. There were even Lang jokes. Lang, who was a lutenist, walks into a lute shop and says that these are pretty good lutes. Shopkeeper: “Yes, I’m the fifth-best lute maker in the world”. Lang: “That’s really a coincidence: I’m the fifth-best mathematician in the world”.

[edit]

Activism

In addition to being a mathematician, Lang spent much of his time engaged in politics. He was active in opposition to the Vietnam War and quit his position at Columbia in 1971 over the university’s treatment of anti-war protesters. He was also engaged in several “whistle blowing” crusades to challenge anyone he believed was spreading misinformation or misusing science or mathematics to further their own goals.

He attacked the 1977 Survey of the American Professoriate, an opinion questionnaire that Seymour Martin Lipset and E. C. Ladd had sent to thousands of college professors in the United States, accusing it of containing numerous biased and loaded questions. This led to a public and highly acrimonious conflict.

In 1986, he challenged the nomination of political scientist Samuel P. Huntington to the National Academy of Sciences, claiming that his research consisted of “political opinions masquerading as science”. The challenge was successful.

Lang kept his political correspondence and related documentation in extensive “files”. He would send letters or publish articles, wait for responses, engage the writers in further correspondences, collect all these writings together and pointed out what he considered contradictions. He often mailed these files to people he considered important; some of them were also published in his books Challenges (ISBN 0387948619) and The File (ISBN 038790607X). His extensive file on the Baltimore affair of alleged scientific misconduct was published in the journal Ethics and Behaviour in January 1993.

His most controversial political stance was as an AIDS dissident; he maintained that the prevailing scientific consensus that HIV causes AIDS has not been backed up by reliable scientific research, yet for political/commercial reasons further research questioning the current point of view is suppressed. In public he was very outspoken about this point and a portion of Challenges is devoted to this issue.

Later in his life, Lang expanded his “challenges” to include the humanities. For example, he fought the decision by Yale University to hire Daniel Kevles, a historian of science, because he disagreed with Kevles’ book The Baltimore Case.

[edit]

External links

* Serge Lang at the Mathematics Genealogy Project

* Serge Lang on HIV/AIDS

* Interview with Serge Lang by Anthony Liversidge (1993). Lang describes at length his method of File making.

* Obituary in Yale Daily News

* AIDS Wiki article

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serge_Lang”

Categories: 1927 births | 2005 deaths | American mathematicians | 20th century mathematicians | AIDS dissidents

Maggiore issue discussed on Reason Hit and Run page in Oct

October 31st, 2005

A long exchange between HIV/AIDS supporters and dissidents ran from Oct 3 to Oct 18 on this Hit and Run page at Reason magazine, and is still being featured on the site, even though it is known that the science editor of Reason is a standard issue media supporter of the ruling paradigm.

The thread was kicked off by Nick Gillespie, the editor of the libertarian magazine, which ran a piece in 1994 on the topic of doubts about HIV and AIDS.

Back in 1994, in an article cowritten by, among others, a Nobel Prize winning chemist (Kary Mullis) and an Intelligent Design-promoting law prof (Phillip Johnson), Reason asked “What Causes AIDS?” That story is online here; and voluminous responses to it are here.

Posted by Nick Gillespie at October 3, 2005 11:04 AM

Gillespie has shown some interest in the topic in recent months, assigning a review on the Bialy book, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: The Scientific Life and Times of Ptere Duesberg” (North Atlantic, 2004) he mentions in his post as “strange”. However, the review didn’t make it through the editorial filter.

The thread has some valuable comment in it and stands as one of the best exchanges we know of of a discussion at a leading US publication’s site, since it attracted comment by Bialy himself, leading HIV/AIDS critic Celia Farber, and other knowledgable contributors.

Hit & Run

Continuous news, views, and abuse by the Reason staff

October 03, 2005

Does a Mother’s Denial = a Daughter’s Death?

On September 24, the LA Times ran a story titled “A Mother’s Denial, a Daughter’s Death,” which detailed a controversy surrounding the death this spring of the daughter of the prominent “AIDS dissident” Christine Maggiore. (AIDS dissidents question the link between HIV and AIDS, arguing that the former is not necessarily the cause–and certainly not the sole cause–of the latter.)

Despite its news format, the Times’ story essentially argued that three-year-old child, Eliza Jane Scovill, not only died of “AIDS-related pneumonia” but that Maggiore acted negligently as a parent. She had not had the child tested for HIV, reported the Times, and various doctors had not been as conscientious as they should have been in treating the girl; the LAPD is investigating Maggiore and her husband for “possible child endangerment.” However, some new information from the mother raises questions about the Times’ account.

From the Times’ story:

Mainstream AIDS organizations, medical experts and ethicists, long confounded and distressed by this small but outspoken dissident movement, say Eliza Jane’s death crystallizes their fears. The dissenters’ message, they say, is not just wrong, it’s deadly.

“This was a preventable death,” said Dr. James Oleske, a New Jersey physician who never examined Eliza Jane but has treated hundreds of HIV-positive children. “I can tell you without any doubt that, at the outset of her illness, if she was appropriately evaluated, she would have been appropriately treated. She would not have died.

“You can’t write a more sad and tragic story,” Oleske said.

Whole thing here.

Maggiore, who has been HIV positive since 1992, is the founder of Alive and Well, a dissident group. She famously has refused to take any sort of anti-HIV drugs; both her husband, Robin Scovill, and her other child (a 7-year-old boy) have consistently tested negative for HIV. The daughter’s HIV status is apparently unknown. Maggiore never had her tested and the LA Times doesn’t mention it (though one would assume it would be part of the coroner’s special report, which was released on September 15 and was the newshook for the story).

At the science blog Dean’s World, Maggiore has posted two letters. The first is a short letter to the Times (conforming to the paper’s limit of 150 words); the second is a longer version. According to Maggiore, her daughter did not have pneumonia and an autopsy performed in May resulted in a finding of “no apparent cause of death.” From one of the letters:

On her last doctor visit, Eliza-Jane had no cough or respiratory congestion. After collapsing the next day following antibiotic administration, ER doctors performed a series of chest Xrays that revealed nothing. After careful examination of her lungs during a May autopsy, the coroner found no apparent cause of death.

One month and no cause later, the coroner’s office called her pediatrician demanding to know if he knew about my book and HIV status. Despite their discovery, it took three more months for the coroner to decide my daughter died of AIDS-pneumonia.

Is Eliza-Jane’s a diagnosis by association? Unlike her father and brother, did she actually test HIV positive?…

More here. Given the way the Times’ story is framed, you would have thought that’d be one of the first things the paper reported. Maggiore is apparently pursuing an independent pathology report, which should at least settle that very basic question. And, depending on the results, may create more interest in the debate over whether HIV causes AIDS.

Two recent books of interest on this general topic: When AIDS Began: San Francisco and the Making of an Epidemic, by Michelle Cochrane. It’s a cultural studies examination of the very first cases of what became known as AIDS and is a fascinating account of how medicine and politics interact in the codification of new diseases. And Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg, by Harvey Bialy. Bialy, founder of the journal Nature Biotechnology and a well-known researcher in his own right, is one of the leading AIDS dissidents and he has written a strange but interesting book about the cancer researcher Duesberg, whose research career pretty much flatlined after he began arguing that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. The interesting thing is that Duesberg’s rep is making a comeback in cancer research.

Back in 1994, in an article cowritten by, among others, a Nobel Prize winning chemist (Kary Mullis) and an Intelligent Design-promoting law prof (Phillip Johnson), Reason asked “What Causes AIDS?” That story is online here; and voluminous responses to it are here.

Posted by Nick Gillespie at October 3, 2005 11:04 AM

Back to Hit & Run Main Page

Comments

AIDS dissidents? WTF.

That’s it, I’m starting a Radiation Dissidents movement. Radiation doesn’t cause cancer!

Comment by: Xmas at October 3, 2005 12:03 PM

Part of the controversy is that Maggiore apparently breastfed her daughter. I don’t know if that would increase the risk of passing Aids to her or not though.

Comment by: Todd Fletcher at October 3, 2005 12:04 PM

We all should cross our fingers and hope Al Gore invented AIDS.

Comment by: Ruthless at October 3, 2005 12:07 PM

At the science blog Dean’s World

WTF? Are you being sarcastic? Dean Esmay knows as much about science as I do how to speak Yanomamo, and the only thing he’s well known for amongst real scientific and medical bloggers is HIV-AIDS denial crankery.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself for putting Esmay and Maggiore’s nonsense up as if there were a shred of substance to it – what next, reports from the Institute of Historical Review? This woman pretty much murdered her daughter, as surely as piping carbon monoxide into a sleeping person’s room counts as homicide, yet here you are trying to defend it out of some delusional libertarian ideological leanings? Where does the right of a child to live regardless of her mother’s rank stupidity factor into any of this? Few things do as much to discredit libertarianism as an ideology for fools with heads in their clouds as posts like this one which seek to grant credibility to people who are, quite bluntly, extremely dangerous morons.

Comment by: Abiola Lapite at October 3, 2005 12:20 PM

there are so many things that discredit libertarianism in the eyes of many; this is quite low on the totem pole.

Comment by: dhex at October 3, 2005 12:29 PM

“Science blog?” Since when? On his front page, the posts are about:

–Ralph Reed

–Harriet Miers

— Intelligent Design

— Ramadan

— Rudy Giuliani

— the linked story

–Iraq

— RINOs

. . . science blog, my ass.

Also, Dean Esmay is a drunk, so, you know.

Comment by: Phil at October 3, 2005 12:37 PM

Though there are many reasons to be extremely skeptical of anything this woman has to say, this line from “the medical establishment” deserves just as much scoffing:

She would not have died.

Huh? If they are so certain she died of AIDS, it’s dangerously misleading to imply that any sort of treatment could be GUARANTEED to extend her life, let alone “keep her from dying”. For how long? I hadn’t realized no one was dying of AIDS anymore! Problem solved, let’s all go home.

Comment by: linguist at October 3, 2005 12:43 PM

I wish Reason could get the authors (Mullis et al.) to do a follow up. I had no idea about most of that stuf, but want to know how things have gone in the last 10 years on the causation question.

Comment by: Dave W. at October 3, 2005 12:53 PM

XMAS

It’s worth noting that there is a great deal of controversy over the link between radiation and cancer. Some have offered evidence that low level exposure may even prevent cancer. Here’s one story:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/091905D.html

This is not to suggest that radiation can’t cause cancer, only that the issue is more complicated than most people believe. With HIV, the question isn’t simply one of if HIV causes AIDS but one of what other factors should be considered…why do some people live for decades with no symptoms while some die in a couple of years?

Comment by: Eryk Boston at October 3, 2005 01:16 PM

Dave W. (and others like you),

How difficult is it for you to go to PubMed and look up the voluminous literature yourselves, rather than relying on axe-grinding cranks like Kary Mullis to do your filtering for you?

Mullis’ nobel prize for his discovery of PCR no more entitles him to speak with authority on the nature of the causal relationship between HIV and AIDS than Albert Einstein’s prize made him an eminence in the field of cancer research, and amongst researchers active in the field of AIDS research – which explicitly excludes people like Peter Duesberg, who’s never actually done any research on the topic – there simply is no “controversy” whatsoever: HIV is the cause of AIDS, period, and any supposedly knowledgeable person who denies it at this point is either an idiot or a lunatic of the sort which populate the Institute for Historical Review and the Discovery Institute.

Comment by: Abiola Lapite at October 3, 2005 01:17 PM

XMAS

It’s worth noting that there is a great deal of controversy over the link between radiation and cancer. Some have offered evidence that low level exposure may even prevent cancer. Here’s one story:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/091905D.html

This is not to suggest that radiation can’t cause cancer, only that the issue is more complicated than most people believe. With HIV, the question isn’t simply one of if HIV causes AIDS but one of what other factors should be considered…why do some people live for decades with no symptoms while some die in a couple of years?

Comment by: Eryk Boston at October 3, 2005 01:20 PM

Can the state prove that she acted negligently? When does the state have the right to over rule parental decisions about a child’s treatment? Do these same rules apply to other groups such as devout Christian Scientists?

Tragic as this case is, it raises troubling questions such as these about individual parental choices versus government controls. As wrong headed as I think Maggiore’s decisions were, she has the right to make those decisions without interference of the state unless they can prove incompetence.

Comment by: B.D. at October 3, 2005 01:28 PM

Mr. Lapite,

It is you who should be ashamed of yourself.

What kind of libertarian is incapable of examining facts, or would condemn another for posting facts as they emerge in a developing story? All you have done is to create a new embarassing low for your ilk, and demonstrate that your mind shuts down when you are confronted by facts that mitigate your blind hatred of HIV skeptics. Instead you wave a pitchfork at Nick Gillespie for acting as a journalist should.

Mr. Gillspie’s relayed Ms. Maggiore’s first hand information about the facts that are known and those that are not known about her daughter’s cause of death. To wit: ELIZA JANE SCOVILL WHO COLLAPSED FOLLOWING ANTIBIOTIC ADMINSITRATION, SHOWED CLEAR LUNGS THROUGHOUT HER EXAMINATIONS BY THREE DOCTORS AND THE CORONOER OF THE FIRST AUTOPSY FOUND “NO APPARENT CAUSE OF DEATH.”

Four months later, a second coroner puts “AIDS related pneumonia,” as the cause of death, which is an impossibility with clear lungs. If he meant PCP pneumonia, that is a disease that takes a long time to manifest and cannot occur in the presence of clear lungs.

On May 29, Robin Scovill was told that the “common,” and “obvious” had been ruled out as causes of death and that they would now have to turn to investigations of chemical, toxins, or poisons. The symptoms of “AIDS,” Scovill was told, would absolutely have fallen under “obvious,” because they “are so obvious.”

Robin and Charlie (Eliza Jane’s brother) are HIV negative. There is no evidence as yet suggesting that Eliza Jane was HIV positive. This information has not been revealed. Maggiore’s letter asks: “Unlike her father and brother, did she actually test HIV positive?” and alluded to having to “wait for the conclusion of an independent investigation.”

If you don’t think all of this merits journalistic scrutiny of any kind than you are an ideological blind man.

Nick Gillespie is a journalist and editor. In this country we don’t tend to attack journalists and editors for doing their job–probing stories.

He said nothing about what the “truth” might be but only REPORTED a recent development in which the mother spoke, having already been tried and sentenced by the LA Times. The mother speaking apparently was too much for you. That you have no empathy or decency is clear. That you know nothing about the word “liberty” is also clear. And what you think a good “libertarian” might be is something too frightening to contemplate.

“Better to carve suns and moons on the joints of crosses,” as the Czeslaw Milosz poem says, “…to implore protection against the mute and treacherous might, than to proclaim, as you did, an inhuman thing.”

Comment by: Leo at October 3, 2005 01:31 PM

B.D., children are not simply the chattel of their parents. They are citizens who deserve the same protection of their lives and liberties as anyone else does, and when their parents’ decisions endanger those lives and liberties, it is the responsibility of the state to interceded to protect them.

Comment by: Phil at October 3, 2005 01:45 PM

What Leo said. Especially the poetry.

Comment by: Ruthless at October 3, 2005 01:48 PM

Phil,

I disagree. I never, ever want the state interceding.

Comment by: Ruthless at October 3, 2005 01:55 PM

Up next, Nick gives his “thumbs up” review of Kevin Trudeau’s “Natural Cures THEY Don’t Want You To Know About.” Then he’ll hold a round table discussion on Intelligent Design, followed up by an essay on why the world is flat. 🙁

Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at October 3, 2005 02:07 PM

With regards to “clear lungs,” I don’t know exactly what that means, but end stage AIDS with PCP is notorious for presenting without pulmonary findings on x-ray or auscultation. The fluid that you would see on x-ray or hear on exam comes from the body’s immune response, and in the end stages, this can be absent. AIDS is a notorious confounder in this sense – that the normal hallmark of infection – inflammation – can be absent. The standard of care for patients with AIDS who present with shortness of breath is presumptive pneumonia, even without objective findings.

Whoever said that AIDS related pneuomia is impossible with clear lungs should go back to medical school. Or at least remember that whenever the multiple choice question says “impossible” or “never,” it’s wrong.

Three months is not a long time for autopsy results to come back, either. Actually, that’s a pretty good autopsy turn-around. The antibody test results should prove illuminating.

Comment by: AML at October 3, 2005 02:20 PM

I disagree. I never, ever want the state interceding.

If it were just this loopy woman, I would agree. She’s an adult. She is free to make her own decision on her health. If she wants to ignore medical science and die a horrible death, that’s her call.

Her daughter, on the other hand, didn’t have the capacity to make her own descisions. How “libertarian” is it to leave her to the mercy of her mother’s choices?

Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at October 3, 2005 02:45 PM

On a lighter and tangentially related note, I can’t believe nobody’s channeled the Onion yet:

U.S. Launches AIDS-Awareness Campaign In Botswana: ‘You All Have AIDS,’ Says U.S.

Comment by: Loli at October 3, 2005 02:59 PM

Ruthless-

So when kids are beaten or raped by their parents, you still think the state should stay out of it? Was South Carolina wrong to imprison Susan Smith after she drowned her two boys?

I’m with Phil and Akira on this one–your parental rights end once they start endangering your child’s life.

Comment by: Jennifer at October 3, 2005 03:08 PM

I disagree. I never, ever want the state interceding.

So you don’t agree that children in the U.S. are rights-bearing individuals deserving of the full protection of their government’s protection of the rights to life and liberty against force or fraud? Just so we’re clear. At what age do people gain the expectation of recognition of their rights?

Comment by: Phil at October 3, 2005 03:13 PM

No, the daughter didn’t have the capacity to make her own decisions. That decision is widely recognized as being in the hands of the parent and we provide parents with wide leeway in this process. Unless the parent can be proven to intentionally causing harm or neglect or is incompetent, the state generally steps aside and lets the guardian make these medical decisions.

Maggiore honestly believed she was doing the right thing. I disagree. Still, I very much doubt that she was mentally incompetent or intentionally causing harm. She may have made what I consider unwise, ignorant, and stupid decisions (just as I feel certain religious sects do when they make medical decisions based on some reading of their revered texts), however in this case I do not think the state should have stepped in to do anything. I, for one, do not want the state stepping in to play nanny and second guessing such decisions without proving mental incompetance or intentional harm.

Comment by: B.D. at October 3, 2005 03:17 PM

No, the daughter didn’t have the capacity to make her own decisions. That decision is widely recognized as being in the hands of the parent and we provide parents with wide leeway in this process. Unless the parent can be proven to intentionally causing harm or neglect or is incompetent, the state generally steps aside and lets the guardian make these medical decisions.

Maggiore honestly believed she was doing the right thing. I disagree. Still, I very much doubt that she was mentally incompetent or intentionally causing harm. She may have made what I consider unwise, ignorant, and stupid decisions (just as I feel certain religious sects do when they make medical decisions based on some reading of their revered texts), however in this case I do not think the state should have stepped in to do anything. I, for one, do not want the state stepping in to play nanny and second guessing such decisions without proving mental incompetence or intentional harm.

Comment by: B.D. at October 3, 2005 03:20 PM

No, the daughter didn’t have the capacity to make her own decisions. That decision is widely recognized as being in the hands of the parent and we provide parents with wide leeway in this process. Unless the parent can be proven to intentionally causing harm or neglect or is incompetent, the state generally steps aside and lets the guardian make these medical decisions.

Maggiore honestly believed she was doing the right thing. I disagree. Still, I very much doubt that she was mentally incompetent or intentionally causing harm. She may have made what I consider unwise, ignorant, and stupid decisions (just as I feel certain religious sects do when they make medical decisions based on some reading of their revered texts), however in this case I do not think the state should have stepped in to do anything. I, for one, do not want the state stepping in to play nanny and second guessing such decisions without proving mental incompetence or intentional harm.

Comment by: B.D. at October 3, 2005 03:22 PM

No, the daughter didn’t have the capacity to make her own decisions. That decision is widely recognized as being in the hands of the parent and we provide parents with wide leeway in this process. Unless the parent can be proven to intentionally causing harm or neglect or is incompetent, the state generally steps aside and lets the guardian make these medical decisions.

Maggiore honestly believed she was doing the right thing. I disagree. Still, I very much doubt that she was mentally incompetent or intentionally causing harm. She may have made what I consider unwise, ignorant, and stupid decisions (just as I feel certain religious sects do when they make medical decisions based on some reading of their revered texts), however in this case I do not think the state should have stepped in to do anything. I, for one, do not want the state stepping in to play nanny and second guessing such decisions without proving mental incompetence or intentional harm.

I think that there are times when the government can and should step in, but I think that the bar must be set intentionally high and well defined.

Comment by: B.D. at October 3, 2005 03:25 PM

Ugh, sorry for the cross posting…I didn’t realize that it was happening. Label me embarrassed.

Comment by: B.D. at October 3, 2005 03:34 PM

Dean’s World is a “science blog” in the sense that we discuss issues of science several times a week, but we cover lots of other things too.

As for my being a “drunk” — character assassination is such a logical argument, isn’t it? I had some problems with alcohol that I went public with a couple of years ago, so now it’s a free for all on my character eh? Well, f**k you too.

Anyway: The HIV skeptics (other than Maggiore) I’ve dealt with are PhD level biologists with numerous peer-reviewed publications to their name, and a couple of journalists who’ve been covering the issue for over 20 years. That they are so often personally vilified, and often outright lied about, ought to tell you something about those doing the vilifying.

If you cannot respect the right of fully credentialed and qualified scientists to disagree with their peers, what is it you think science really is all about?

Comment by: Dean Esmay at October 3, 2005 03:52 PM

“How “libertarian” is it to leave her to the mercy of her mother’s choices?”

Akira,

I’m an anarchist with faith that somebody–other than government–would intercede.

Even as a libertarian, the more extreme the circumstance, the less able the government is to handle it, eh? Duh.

I love kids, really.

Comment by: Ruthless at October 3, 2005 03:58 PM

Dave W

I agree. I actually remember reading the article when it came out–it was one of the first copies of reason I ever saw. Since then, nothing. Maybe the editors have been, ahem…silenced?

Comment by: JMoore at October 3, 2005 04:13 PM

Hahahaha. Dean Esmay is suddenly opposed to character assassination. That’s cute. This is the same guy who recently called about a dozen other bloggers ‘racists’ on his site, right?

Comment by: Anonymush at October 3, 2005 04:13 PM

Are we going to discuss the facts here or is this all just a jihad on me for talking to biologists who disagree with their peers?

Comment by: Dean Esmay at October 3, 2005 04:43 PM

DEAR AML:

It is true that xrays can be deceptive with PCP but the illness is virtually always diagnosably with lung biopsy. More germaine here is the fact that PCP is symptomatic and not asymptomatic. It has clear signs. The text below is cut and pasted from none other than GMHC’s website:

Who is at risk for PCP?

Although PCP is largely preventable and treatable, it remains one of the leading causes of illness and death in people with HIV. Because some people with HIV are more at risk of developing PCP than others, it is strongly recommended that the following people with HIV take medication to prevent PCP:

People who have T-cell counts below 200;

People who have oral thrush or unexplained fevers lasting more than two weeks, whether or not their T-cell counts below 200;

People who have had PCP before, no matter their current T-cell count.

What are the signs and symptoms of PCP?

In people with HIV, it is common for the symptoms of PCP to develop slowly, so that you may not realize something is wrong until you are quite sick. Also, many of the symptoms of PCP can be mistaken for many other infections.

Fever, chest tightness, shortness of breath, lack of energy, dry cough and weight loss are all possible signs of PCP. Weakness may be the only symptom if you are taking medication to prevent PCP. Talk to your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

(Note: Eliza Jane apparently had none of these symptoms, but rather, a runny nose, and an ear infection. Nor did she have the blue lips always associated with pneumonia.)

Back to GMHC text:

How does a doctor tell if I have PCP?

The doctor will usually order a chest x-ray if she suspects that you have PCP. However, it is common for people with HIV to have PCP but not have it show up on their chest x-ray, especially when the illness is caught early.

In order to make a definitive diagnosis of PCP, your doctor needs to find P. carinii in the lungs and examine it under a microscope. This can be done by (1) taking a sputum sample (thick fluid from deep in the lungs); (2) doing a procedure called a bronchoscopy that looks at the lung area with a lens attached to a tube; or (3) doing a procedure called a lung biopsy which takes a sample of the tissue in the lungs to test for infection.

According to her mother, Eliza Jane showed no clear signs of pneumonia and certainly not advanced pneumonia. I don’t know what she died of and neither do you. The LA Times omitted the crystal of questions and mysteries around her death and presented it as fact that she died of “AIDS related pneumonia,” when in fact the original coroner’s report found nothing of the kind. Does the ghost manifestation of AIDS related pneumonia extend its invisibility to include no damage to the lungs at autopsy?

I repeat here a line from Maggiore’s letter:

“After being transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance, emergency room doctors took a series of chest x-rays that revealed nothing to account for her dire condition. …During an autopsy performed on May 18, my daughters lungs were carefully examined, weighed and measured. The coroner released her body to a mortuary the following day having found no apparent cause of death.”

The point is that questions remain. Is it your contention that there are no legitimate questions here?

Comment by: Leo at October 3, 2005 05:04 PM

Ruthless: Let me pose the following hypo. You have a child with a partner. Sometime later, you break up, and your partner gets custody. Your partner then tells you that s/he has become a Christian Scientist, and under no circumstances will s/he take the child to a hospital, preferring to rely on prayer to cure the child.

Still think the state has no role?

Comment by: brett at October 3, 2005 05:53 PM

Certainly there are legitimate questions. That’s what makes autopsy so interesting. I was merely taking issue with your mistaken commentary about her lungs being “clear” as ruling out pneumonia, something that is certainly not the case.

With pneumocystis, one would expect some degree of respiratory distress that would bring the patient to the physician in the first place. Diagnosis could be made from sputum samples, which in AIDS-associated pneumocystis are usually packed with the organisms. Bronchoscopy, etc. can be done as well. Having a high index of suspicion helps.

I don’t know what happened to the little girl, but it’s certainly abnormal for healthy children to just drop dead. My point was simply that a clear chest does not rule out PCP, and that a seemingly extended time to result the autopsy was in no way suspicious.

Comment by: AML at October 3, 2005 06:24 PM

If I were parent who considered himself a “Nutrition dissident”, would that give me the right to starve my children to death? Pretty sure the law says no.

Comment by: Dave at October 3, 2005 07:27 PM

My favorite part of the “AIDS is fake” argument is the total blank out on Africa. Remind me again what it was that really killed all those millions of Africans with AIDS. Was it all the poppers they did in gay discos back in the 70’s, or was it the anti-HIV drugs they never got a chance to take?

Comment by: Dave at October 3, 2005 07:29 PM

Nick,

Thank you very much for your kind words about my biography of Peter.

I must, however, correct two misconceptions you have about my professional accomplishments.

I was the founding scientific editor of Nature Biotechnology, and am much better known as a researcher into artistic spaces than biological ones as can be seen here (http://bialystocker.net)

Harvey

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 3, 2005 07:47 PM

There is no argument that “AIDS is fake,” Dave, but rather that is is grossly mis-characterized and the statistical projections for it hallucinatory.

The trouble is that dozens of clinical symptoms of illness and/or immune suppression were assigned to “AIDS” (post 1984) in the presence of proteins said to be strictly associated with a novel retrovirus. (HIV positive)

On the land continent of Africa, the population has grown by 164 million since the mid 1980s.

There have continued to be mass deaths also on the continent of Africa. Many of the diseases formerly called by other names have been called “AIDS” in Africa since the phenomenon of post-modern AIDS epidemiology. No HIV test is required for a diagnosis of AIDS in Africa but rather a defintion that is indistinguishable from most tropical disease definitions, such as malaria, TB etc. The defintion for “AIDS” in Africa, established in Bangui in the 1980s, is merely this: Diarrhea, fever, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain.

The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that proper death statistics are non existent or scant in most African countries. It is then further compounded by the fact that most African nations are ruled by despotic governments, prone to corruption and all too willing to open their coffers to “AIDS” and pharmaceutical funding, and to render their people subject to the exploding market of human experimentation.

If you wish to abide by the racist, unfounded and even preposterous idea that African sex somehow (via “dry sex” etc) produces an epidemic spread of HIV, which has not been seen in any industrialized nation, you are welcome to it.

Western data (Padian and others) states that it takes on average 1000 unprotected sexual encounters for a single transmission of HIV to occur–this despite the fact that in Padian’s famous study, in fact, NO transmission occurred, despite unprotected sex over a period of 10 years, in 175 discordant couples.

Since you seem to feel you know so much about Africa, can you shed light on how such a discrepancy is possible?

South African writer Rian Malan began his inquiry standing firmly in your ill informed spot, and spent a year investigating the many questions raised by Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS panel. His story in Rolling Stone, in 2001, wound up incredulously, nervously, but firmly on the side of the “skeptics.” He is a very good and very honest reporter. He found death and he found old diseases but he found no NEW inexplicable rise in death in South Africa due to “AIDS.” Among other revelations, coffin makers were complaining of having no business.

If I were you I would steer clear of Africa, because you are likely to get blown out of the water by people who have actually investigated the matter.

Comment by: Leo at October 3, 2005 07:52 PM

Isn’t it rich that Gillespie or whoever is moderating this board allowed the so-called AIDS “dissidents” who are always claiming to be “suppressed” by the “scientific establishment” to continue spreading their falsehoods at will on here even as my own comments are disappeared down a “moderation” cue?

That’s it – my respect for this site as an oasis of actual reason on the web has just gone down the drain: consider me one reader lost permanently to your efforts. I’m not going to waste my time on a forum on which HIV-AIDS deniers are given free rein while those who object to the murderous consequences of their advocacy are muzzled.

Comment by: Abiola Lapite at October 3, 2005 07:53 PM

Is There Evidence AIDS is Sexually Transmitted?

David Rasnick, Visiting Scientist, UC Berkeley

rasnick@mindspring.com

January 20, 2003

I challenge [doctors] to come up with the names, even one will do, of the persons documented to have shown that AIDS or HIV is sexually transmitted. I know of no such study.

In fact, the scientific, medical literature is full of evidence that neither AIDS nor HIV is sexually transmitted. It is only assumed that they are.

The results of the world’s best scientific study that attempted to measure the efficiency of heterosexual transmission of antibodies to HIV was conducted by Nancy Padian and her colleagues (Padian NS, et al. 1997: Heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in northern California: results from a ten-year study. Am J Epidemiol 146: 350-7).

The most striking result of the ten-year study is that Padian et al. did not observe any HIV-negative sex partners becoming

HIV-positive from years of unprotected sexual intercourse with their HIV-positive partners. I repeat?NOT ONE HIV-negative sex partner became positive during the 10- year study. Therefore, the observed transmission efficiency was ZERO.

However, to avoid reporting a zero efficiency for the sexual transmission of HIV, Padian and colleagues assumed that the

HIV-positive sex partners in their study must have become positive through sexual intercourse before entering the study. Using that assumption, they estimated that an HIV-negative woman would have to have sexual intercourse 1,000

times with HIV-positive men before becoming HIV-positive herself. Even more astounding, HIV-negative men would have to have 8000 sexual contacts before becoming HIV-positive.

Virtually identical figures have been reported by others (Gisselquist, D., et al., HIV infections in sub- Saharan Africa not explained by sexual or vertical transmission. Int J STD AIDS, 2002. 13: p. 657-666; Jacquez, J.A., et al., Role of the primary infection in epidemics of HIV infection in gay cohorts. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 1994. 7: p.1169-1184).

Given these figures and that the US Centers for Disease Control estimates that one million Americans have antibodies to HIV raises an enormous problem for sexually transmitted HIV. Since there are around 280 million men and women in the USA, that means that on average an HIV-negative woman would have to have random sexual intercourse 140,000 times?and a man eight times that number?in order to become HIV-positive (assuming equal distribution of HIV between the sexes).

Below are additional examples in the literature that neither AIDS nor HIV is sexually transmitted.

– None of the husbands of HIV positive women became antibody positive to HIV over a three-year period. (Lancet ii: 581 (1985), Stewart et al.}

– No transmission of HIV was observed between couples in which all of the women were HIV positive and in which at least 100 sexual contacts occurred. (JAMA 259: 3037 (1988), Padian et al.)

– After a mean of 3-1/2 years of unprotected intercourse, with an average of 50 sexual encounters per year, only one hemophiliac wife became HIV positive. (American Journal of Medicine 85: 472 (1988), Kim et al.)

– No transmission of T-cell abnormalities from hemophiliacs with AIDS to their spouses. (JAMA 251: 1450 (1984), Kreiss et al.)

– “The number of American and European heterosexuals who have had sexual relations with a prostitute, who have no other

admitted risk factors (such as drug abuse), and who have subsequently developed antibody to HIV can be

counted on the fingers of one hand. Sex with a prostitute is not even listed as a risk category by the American CDC.” (Rethinking AIDS, Root-Bernstein, 1993)

– “Non-drug abusing prostitutes have no higher risk of AIDS than other women.” (AIDS: the second decade, report from the

National Academy of Sciences USA, 1990)

The same is true for prostitutes in Germany, Zurich, Vienna, London, Paris, Pardenone (Italy), and Athens. (Klinische

Wochenschrift 65: 287 (1987), Luthy et al.; Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 98: 697 (1986), Kopp & Dangl-Erlach; Lancet ii: 1424 (1985), Brenky-Fandeux & Fribourg-Blanc; British Medical Journal 297: 1585 (1988), Day et al.; Scand J Infect Dis 21: 353 (1988), Hyams et al.)

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Recommend Message 3 of 19 in Discussion

From: Paul King Sent: 3/24/2004 8:37 PM

If AIDS is sexually transmitted how can one explain these figures: –

AIDS CASES IN 2001

http://www.avert.org/eurosum.htm

France 1528

Holland (legal prostitution) 45

Sweden (legal prostitution/very sexually liberated) 42

Denmark (as above) 74

These current statistics hardly suggest a link between AIDS and sexual activity.

….so does that mean that people in France are less likely to use condoms than in Holland, Denmark and Sweden?

Actually the EXACT REVERSE IS TRUE.

Durex study: –

[url]http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/10198/96961[/url]

“The number 2 country in the Durex survey (amount of sexual activity) is the Netherlands, where people say they have sex 158 times a year, followed by Denmark at 152. The average among all the countries is 139, with the USA falling just short at 138.

While people are still underprotecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies, according to the Durex Global Sex Survey, the French are the least likely to have had unprotected sex. Just 22 percent said they have not used protection, compared to 61 percent in Sweden who did not…(and so on and so forth)

Comment by: Paul at October 3, 2005 08:05 PM

“Ruthless: Let me pose the following hypo. You have a child with a partner. Sometime later, you break up, and your partner gets custody. Your partner then tells you that s/he has become a Christian Scientist, and under no circumstances will s/he take the child to a hospital, preferring to rely on prayer to cure the child.

Still think the state has no role?”

Brett,

I feel guilty distracting from the real issue here, but your hypothetical proves my point that the state always has its metaphysical head up its metaphysical ass: my partner shouldn’t get custody on a break-up.

Comment by: Ruthless at October 3, 2005 09:50 PM

Abiola Lapite,

We can arrange for you to meet Mona.

Happy now?

Comment by: Ruthless at October 3, 2005 09:53 PM

I’m sure the alternative medicine woo-woos who have flocked on this blog to will disregard this link because it comes from the evil medical “establishment” and their wicked scientific method. But…

http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/hiv-aids.html

By the way: Nick, my subscription just expired. If you’ve made this pseudo-scientific bullshit your editorial stand, then I’m not going to renew. I encourage that all current Reason subscribers who still believe in real science and the integrity of modern medicine to exercise their economic liberty and either cancel their subscriptions, or decline to renew.

Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at October 3, 2005 10:26 PM

I encourage that all current Reason

Sigh… It’s hard to make a heroic last stand when you can’t fix your typos.

Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at October 3, 2005 10:57 PM

Nick, you really let us down this time. 🙁

Comment by: shecky at October 3, 2005 11:47 PM

The following review of Bialy’s book, Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life & Times of Peter H. Duesberg, appears on Amazon. I believe it is worth a wider audience.

——————————————-

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

Duesberg’s Huxley, September 10, 2004

Reviewer: William Breeze (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Bialy does for Duesberg what T.H. Huxley did for Darwin, by taking up the cudgels for a fellow scientist and his thinking. Employing deft characterizations and a mordant wit (to which he occasionally gives free rein with delightful effect), he provides an incisive understanding of the scientific and social issues behind cancer genetics and AIDS research. Written from the unique vantages of a longtime friend and colleague, and from within the hallowed precincts of the world’s oldest continually published scientific periodical, Nature, the book gives a real “inside analysis” of biomedical science since the advent of the modern biotechnologies. The book is elegantly composed and has an overall sonata allegro form, with the first and last chapters developing the various themes of cancer genetics and the middle three featuring the story of HIV and its relationship to AIDS. The first person style, and the clear but rigorous scientific history that it relates, make it both accessible and enjoyable to the general reader. It is guaranteed to provoke a few smiles and many grimaces from the stalwarts of HIV and oncogene (cancer gene) theory.

Bialy is a molecular biologist who was involved in the genesis of biotechnology as the founding scientific editor of the most prominent journal in the field (Nature Biotechnology). His literary talent allows him to guide the reader through a gradual exposition of the scientific issues while telling the cautionary tale of Duesberg’s courageous struggle to restore objectivity, fairness and intellectual integrity to cancer and AIDS research. It shows just how vulnerable the great tradition of hypothesis, experiment, proof, peer review and publication can be to manipulation by vested interests, media, and government institutions with public health party lines. When these close ranks they wield a formidable, monolithic power that can dictate the way science is allowed to proceed. Pit against this a scientist at the top of his field who commits the unforgivable ‘sin’ of challenging an orthodoxy he himself was critical in establishing, and the predictable outcome is marginalization, ridicule and out-of-hand dismissal. Duesberg suffered all of this. Yet he continued, in an amazingly dogged way as the reader learns, to apply the high standards of scientific proof that had made him so famous, feared and respected in the intellectual salad days of molecular biology. These are the elements of a classic heroic tale, but rather than portray Duesberg as a white knight, Bialy more interestingly and accurately doesn’t portray him at all. Instead he presents the unadulterated thinking of this immensely reasonable, patient and persistent scientist, who is if anything an anti-hero. The plot, accordingly, is not that of an epic but of a dark mystery — the central one, left unsolved and for the astonished reader to ponder, being “why?” The book reveals “how,” “what” and “who” in a way that I found irresistible.

Whilst Peter Duesberg’s rethinking of AIDS dogma has not as yet become even semi-respectable (although this book could help change that if enough people actually read it), the book’s final chapters show how his two decades of criticism of qualitative oncogene theory led him to his now well-recognized quantitative aneuploidy (numerical chromosomal abnormalities) theory of cancer causation.

Comment by: George Quasha at October 3, 2005 11:51 PM

Wow, the nutcases (aka Paul and Leo) are out in force tonight. Certainly I had thought that the transmission of the HIV virus through sexual contact was as well established as, say, evolutionary theory.

But it seems that there are nuts in every tree, evolutionary or otherwise. I was a little surprised to see Nancy Padian of UCSF in Rasnick’s above list of quoted papers, considering how much work she’s done in the field of male/female transmission of HIV and the prevention thereof. Obviously, if she’d read her own work, she would realize that she was wasting her time.

Looking more closely at the reference, though, I found no mention of her name on the paper. Rather, it was by JA Levy and called “The transmission of AIDS: the case of the infected cell.” That’s Jay A Levy. The man who in a a recent interview called the cervix a “hot spot” for HIV infection, and initially proposed the idea of using diaphragmns to prevent infection in women back in 1989. Obviously, he, too, needs a refresher on his own work. Or, at least, on the art of selective quotation.

I don’t have access to the medical library from home, but so far, his references aren’t looking very well-cited or convincing.

Then there’s all this schtick about how HIV is defined differently in Africa, can’t prove it’s actually HIV, could just be diarrhea from eating a bad oyster, blah blah blah.

Of course diseases are diagnosed differently in different circumstances. HIV antibody testing and CD4 counts aren’t commonly available or affordable in many places, so a syndrome with a high probability of being HIV is diagnosded instead. This is an acceptable practice here in the US as well. If I see a seven year old kid with dew-drop on a rose-petal lesions on his skin than began on his trunk and spread to his extremities, I don’t need to check his serum for Varicella Zoster to diagnose the chicken pox.

Likewise, a young man with unexplained weight loss, night sweats, shortness of breath, rectal condyloma, diarrhea and a rash on his foot that looks like a peach soaked onto brown paper has AIDS. The CD4 counts simply confirms the finding.

I’m certain that there are misdiagnoses in Africa. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, for example, might be a mimic, as might other infections. But properly applied, a syndromic diagnosis is extremely effective, and in the case of Africa, is well-supported by serological evidence.

Not that I’m going to convince anyone determined to deny our modern viral holocaust, or fixated with the religion of the Almighty Conspiracy, but there are certain absurdities that must be challenged. Lives, quite literally, depend on them.

So, back under your rocks, mon cher wackos. This is, after all, _Reason_.

Comment by: CML at October 3, 2005 11:51 PM

And this review by the well respected scientist George Miklos, who was instrumental in the sequencing of the human genome, appeared in Bialy’s, former journal Nature Biotechnology

Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life & Times of Peter H. Duesberg.

By: Harvey Bialy

Published by The Institute of Biotechnology, National University of M鸩co, and distributed by North Atlantic Books, 2004, Berkeley, CA, 328 pages, ISBN 1-55643-531-2. $19.95

Iconoclast to the Max

Review by George L. Gabor Miklos, Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 22, pp. 815-816, July 2004

In this authoritative and elegantly written book, Harvey Bialy exposes a microcosm of today?s medical science in a blistering analysis of the history of modern cancer and AIDS research. An almost unique hybrid of scientific biography and autobiography, Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS is replete with Nobel laureates , editors of prestigious journals like Nature and Science, presidents of the USA and South Africa and ?colorful? characters such as ?Honest Dollar Bill?, and the ?OncoMouse?. But the central figure of Bialy?s book is Peter Duesberg, a classical, no-nonsense U.C. Berkeley professor who has for more than twenty years presented data and interpretations to cancer and AIDS scientists that call into question the fundamental notions of causality they espouse and which represent the dominant, mainstream positions? that specific genes via mutations cause cancer, and HIV causes AIDS. The sadly predictable result of questioning these two sacred cows of modern biomedicine was the almost complete destruction of a once lofty professional standing. Of late, however, Duesberg?s name has begun to undergo some significant reconstruction as Bialy makes clear in telling the fascinating and instructive story of his banishment from the High Table and his recent partial return to favor.

To this reader, Duesberg?s situation suggests parallels with that of another cell geneticist, the Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock. For decades her work was ignored by all except the very few who understood that the ideas and data were persuasive and worth serious consideration even though they did not fit the existing fashion — yet how right she turned out to be. The inescapable conclusion; clean data and perceptive, unbiased analysis win every time. Near the end of a chapter entitled ?Good Mourning America?, Bialy uses an analogy to an old television police series where the LA cop Joe Friday continually reiterates ?Just the facts, ma?am? , to emphatically make this point.

Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS has other global themes such as how science should be done, and the prominent role of metaphoric language in popular and professional scientific writing. Bialy?s method is to examine the most important review articles and scientific papers in both cancer and AIDS that Duesberg published between 1983 and 2003, and the responses to them in the journals. He does this by weaving the hard science with historical and personal reflections to produce a contextual fabric that makes the book appealing and comprehensible to even a non-specialist reader. As far as this reviewer is concerned, Duesberg gets the Big Picture correct on both cancer and AIDS because he demands the highest standards of data interpretation, something that is a common casualty in the cancer and AIDS fields where fame, stock options, potential blockbuster drugs, appearances on Larry King Live and the front cover of Time or Newsweek, often appear to take precedence. As the founding scientific editor of Nature Biotechnology and an early Ph.D. from the first department of molecular biology in the country at U.C. Berkeley, Bialy has a privileged position which he uses to impeccably demonstrate that Duesberg represents a golden era of molecular biology whe n there was no room for the shoddy over-interpretations, and unimpressive correlations that pass for some of today?s cancer and AIDS ?breakthroughs?.

Despite being the past recipient of an Outstanding Investigator Grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, its most competitive and highly regarded award, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences since 1986, Duesberg became unfundable in parallel with his questioning of AIDS and cancer etiologies. But in testament to what makes America the epicenter of privately financed innovation, he succeeded in attracting support from a far sighted San Francisco philanthropist, and his ailing laboratory was rejuvenated. So real science continued, and together with Berkeley and University of Heidelberg collaborators, Duesberg produced a rigorous, quantitative genetic explanation of cancer that is based on massive chromosomal upheavals, a phenomenon called aneuploidy that for almost one hundred years has been known to be the most consistent genetic alteration associated with solid tumors. In its modern metamorphosis at the hands of Duesberg and his colleagues, this explanation of cancer has begun to receive serious and well deserved attention. The aneuploidy view is very different fr om the current mainstream one, in which cancers arise because of the stepwise accumulation of mutations in oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes, sometimes assisted by mutator genes in a chromosomally normal human cell. The implications for drug development are also very different between the two modes of cancer genesis and herein lay the makings of an unavoidable clash that was almost as vicious as the more obvious one between viral and chemical causes of AIDS.

Unfortunately for the establishment position, it has so far proven experimentally impossible to produce cancer in normal, diploid cells by multiple mutational routes. To use a phrase repeated to devastating effect in the book —- to what should be the shame of numerous and very public defenders of both oncogenes and HIV —- while specific mutated genes have ?told us many things that we did not know, they have thus far not provided the answer to the all important question of how?. The mutation-cancer field is so befuddled, it will come as no surprise when the reader learns that the ?guardian of the genome?, the capo de tutti capo of anti-oncogenes, p53, was reclassified as a tumor -suppressor after being a bona fide dominant oncogene for over a decade. As Bialy writes in one of the must -read, ?gracenote? annotations, mutated oncogenes and tumor -suppressors are about processes and have almost no individual value except in defined genetic backgrounds. They contribute to phenotypic endpoints that are only applicable in the context of a network perturbation. Thus, as is well known, but nevertheless conveniently ignored, a mutation in a tumor -suppressor gene may be associated with a high frequency of colorectal carcinomas in one genetic background, but the same mutation in a different genetic background yields a perfectly normal colon totally free of carcinomas.

For this reviewer, steeped in chromosomal mechanics, segmental aneuploidy and mutational profiles of eukaryotic genomes in different genetic backgrounds, the severe limitations of what individual mutations can and cannot do, is based on rigorous and well tested experimental foundations. The mutational underpinnings of cancer, by contrast, as currently set out by mainstream cancer researchers, simply don?t cut the mustard in either predictive value or clinical usefulness. Trying to prolong the lives of cancer patients based on research emanating from the academic and pharmaceutical sectors has made it clear that something is seriously amiss with current approaches. For example, after three decades of research, there has been no reduction whatsoever in the incidence of the major solid tumors of the breast, lung, prostate and colon. All we have to show for the effort is a massive clinical black hole into which hundreds of billions of dollars of public and pharmaceutical money continues to be poured. This situation has been extensively (and exquisitely) documented by a devastating recent article in Fortune magazine by Clifton Leaf, entitled, ?Why we are losing the war on cancer?. As Andy Grove, the Chairman of Intel pointed out to the magazine?s editor, ?It?s like a Greek tragedy. Everybody plays his part, everybody does what?s right by his own life, and the total just doesn?t work?. In this context, Duesberg?s work on the importance of gross upheavals in the human genome in the etiology of cancers is of enormous significance, as the real clinical issue concerns the series of unstable network problems leading to metastasis. This metastatic dot is slowly assuming more prominence on the cancer radar screen, as the technology to examine the transcriptional outputs of single cancerous cells is being honed by pioneers such as Christoph Klein in Germany, and the methylation status of single cells is now being probed by Douglas Millar, one of the inventors of the basic methylation methodologies, in Australia.

It cannot be overemphasized that cancer is not really a disease of uncontrolled growth. Cancer cells often divide more slowly than their progenitors and metastatic cells often become arrested at ectopic sites in the body. Henry Harris, a distinguished early pioneer of the tumor suppression field at the University of Oxford, made this same point when he wrote in the pages of Nature recently, ?It would reduce confusion considerably, if it could be agreed that cancer, in the first instance, is not a disease of cell multiplication, but a disease of differentiation? (as quoted in the book). The triumvirate of Bialy, Leaf and Harris is a lethal cocktail for conventional theories of cancer. Either you are blasted from a cocooned world, or one of the great paradigm shifts in medicine has just passed you by.

There comes a time when throwing money at a problem is counterproductive and what is required is more cortical horsepower. It is a corollary of what the Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner has been saying for decades and which he put in prose in a favorite essay, ?Sillycon Valley Fever?. Brenner?s point is brutal in its simplicity. How can you perform academic or commercially relevant biology if you don?t think deeply? If you don?t have a coherent theory and if you are dependent upon sophisticated technologies and bioinformatic protocols that you don?t understand, then your data interpretations are in the realm of voodoo science. It is painfully obvious by now that this is where many cancer and AIDS researchers have located themselves — a conclusion attested to by the mortality rates of breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers and the mountain of contradictions in the scientific literature concerning presumed HIV pathogenesis, AIDS morbidity, mortality, epidemiology and demography. Having got it so wrong, they can?t buy their way out of their self generated cul-de-sacs. The almost pathological obsession with gene -based solutions (cellular or viral), neat gene -based circuit diagrams, mutator genes and ?Molecular Portraits? of cancers, has led to a medical science that has wasted a massive amount of resources and spawned a plethora of failed drugs.

Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS should be compulsory reading for those concerned with what the U.S. (and other Western) governments are buying when they spend public money on cancer and AIDS research. It should also be compulsory for pharmaceutical and biotech executives, since most of their potential targets for solid tumors are irrelevant entities that continue to clog drug development pipelines. Finally, it should be read by anyone who is interested in the way scientific theories develop and are shaped by historical circumstances.

In his detailing of the academic trials, tribulations and recent emerging triumphs of professor Duesberg, Bialy provides a number of salient lessons. One of them is that something precious has been lost in our love affair with the technological marvels that permeate today?s biomedical science. It is, after all, the human cortex that sets the standards of excellence. If those standards are compromised, we are on the inexorably downward slope of shallow thought and mindless turning of the millstone. The proposition is indeed a stark one, and it is a measure of Bialy?s skill and artistry that he makes it thinkable.

—————————–

George L. Gabor Miklos is Director of. Secure Genetics Pty Limited, Sydney, NSW, Australia www.securegenetics.com, and Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Human Genetic Signatures, Pty Limited, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Email: gmiklos@securegenetics.com.

Comment by: Mikhail Horowitz at October 4, 2005 12:02 AM

Certainly I had thought that the transmission of the HIV virus through sexual contact was as well established as, say, evolutionary theory.

While the above statement is well established. The causative role of HIV in causing immune deficiency is not well established at all. No one has been able to do it, and no one even bothers to obscure this fact.

There is currently no test approved by the FDA to diagnose whether someone is HIV positive or not. There is only an FDA approved screening test to discern the possibility of that. Why? Because the tests don’t test for viruses. They test for antibodies reacting to proteins present in all manner of life. What’s worse is that this plain fact is explained to you on the packaging of most testing kits.

CML, I don’t accept that Africa’s standards for identifying HIV positive individuals is an accurate one. Certainly, you see someone with the diarrhea and the nightsweats and the lesions you described and that person’s immune system is clearly suffering. Hey, if you live on a continent where nutritious food, clean drinking water and sanitary waste solutions are in scarce supply yet exposure to long-time immune suppressors like malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis is a fact of life, of course your body is going to breakdown. Of course people have been suffering those problems in Africa for many years before HIV and AIDS. Are they HIV positive? Well, no one really knows that if they can’t test it!!

As a gay man reared in the 80s, where my initial introduction to the concept of homosexuality was neatly packed up with visions of AIDS and Kaposis Sarcoma. I was stultified for most of my life that sex would kill me. Somehow, for gay men, black people and people of color in most tropical third world countries, death and sex go hand in hand. Somehow rates of heterosexual transmission of AIDS, in this age of Paris Hilton porn vids, Viagra and Jenna Jameson branded products, have stagnated. How can you not raise questions about the way these estimates of transmission are devised?

How can you not raise questions over the fact that Robert Gallo collected royalties on his test every time someone was declared HIV positive?

How can you not raise questions over the fact that the first cases of AIDS involved Kaposis Sarcoma and pneumonia in gay men, while those particular diseases seem to elude the majority of straight positive people?

How can tubercolusis and Hep C, so rigidly linked to HIV in the black community, fail to bear presence among gay men, or Asian women?

Are they suffering from the same affliction, or just the same long line of diseases specific to lifestyle and circumstance?

How can you not raise questions over the debilitating effects of HIV drug therapies like AZT, which is still presecribed for HIV-positive people?

How can you not raise questions about the nature of this epidemic? What is the real disease here when it can’t even be found?

Somehow, people with negative “diagnoses” can exhibit the same symptoms of immune suppression as someone experiencing full-blown AIDS. Isn’t that strange to you?

Isn’t it strange to you that all of the worst affected groups in this epidemic have lagging problems with drug abuse and malnutrition, yet the causative influence of these factors in immune suppression is constantly played down?

I don’t know if you’re aware of it, or care, but there are people in this country who have ignored their doctor’s death sentences, relinquished their option to become guinea pigs for toxic and lethal drug regimes and have elected to live their lives and control their own health. I know, you would prefer to call them loonies and nuts and baby killers to satisfy your contentions of not exploring what you’ve come to comfortably accept.

These people had accepted that, too. That is until they learned that the drugs they were actively adhering to ingesting were more likely of ravaging their immune systems than any drug ever would.These people trusted the mainstream, until they started to think critically.

The science is easy to understand, once you start examining what’s been presented to you.

The media keeps mentioning long-term non-progressors/slow-progressors, puzzled over their ability to thrive for years as HIV positive. I can assure you that these people are living because they refuse to buy into the dogma that a menagerie of toxic, health-compromising drugs is going to save them from an untraceable virus that no known test can accurately look for.

You can espouse yourselves as open-minded, rational thinkers all you like, and keep on calling the skeptics, the dissidents, DENIALISTS, as you say–as crazy, loony, and murderous.

But until you explore BOTH sides of this 25-year-old story (and there’s a lot on the other side to discover), you’re simply pumping out one-sided rhetoric.

Read, talk to the “denialists,” read our stories, look at countless articles presented by legitimate, esteemed voices from the scientific community and DECIDE FOR YOURSELF between what is established and what is logical.

Recommended links:

www.aliveandwell.org

www.virusmyth.net

http://whatisaids.com

www.aidsmythexposed.com

Comment by: SilvrScarab at October 4, 2005 02:34 AM

Have you ever wondered?

What the arguments against the HIV theory really is?

What the HIV tests inaccuracies really are?

Are there alternative hypothesis for the cause of AIDS?

What is really happening with AIDS in the Third World?

What happens when dissenters speak out?

Toxic and fatal reactions form AIDS drug treatments?

What does the future hold?

Gary Null has produced several Award Winning documentary’s on the HIV=AIDS=DEATH hypothesis.

Remember everyone …..No one has been cured!!!!!

Ever wonder why?

www.GaryNull.com

Videos available:

AIDS In Africa

AIDS A Second Opinion

AIDS The Untold Story

Deconstructing The Myth of AIDS

Comment by: BOB NYC…H.E.A.L. at October 4, 2005 08:24 AM

AIDS is a category, not a disease.

HIV is supposed to cause any one or more of 29 actual diseases that are under that category. The 29 diseases all have different causes. Saying that 29 diseases that all have different causes “have one cause” is a direct contradiction. The laws of physics, logic, and reasonable sentence structure, make it impossible accurately conclude that one virus can cause 29 diseases that all have different causes.

The term HIV/AIDS continually makes this contradictory statement.

AIDS research relys on this contradiction of one cause of multible diseases that all have always had various causes, thus all we have is experimental drugs claimed to target cells which blow up everything in its path, vaccines that claim to have ‘NO HIV’ when the very foundation of vaccination is injecting the very thing you don’t want, and a host of other contradictions.

It’s really a definition syndrome more than anything.

Comment by: Somewhere Over The Rainbow at October 4, 2005 09:43 AM

I left the following review of Harvey’s book at Amazon. Only 8 of 10 people thought it was helpful, however. But then again, I am a runner not a writer.

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

A Mighty Burner , September 7, 2004

Reviewer: Lee Evans (Mobile, Alabama)

A Mighty Burner

From start to finish, this book accelerates like we did at the ’68 Mexico City games, and it carries a powerful political message too. Reading it is an antidote for all the mind killing words that are everywhere about HIV/AIDS in Africa and that too many African Americans believe.

Lee E. Evans

Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Cross Country Coach, University of South Alabama

Comment by: Lee E. Evans at October 4, 2005 10:41 AM

As I imagine a few people might want to contact me, let me correct the email address that is incorrectly printed in the hyperlink above.

levans@usouthal.edu is correct.

I would appreciate it if the moderator of this discussion would correct the email in my original post, and delete this. Thank you, Nick.

Comment by: Lee Evans at October 4, 2005 10:54 AM

Last week this story came out, saying that the ‘AIDS virus has been weakening’ for a long time now.

“The viruses from the 2000s are much weaker than the viruses from the 80s,” said Dr. Eric Artz, describing it as a “striking observation.”

“Maybe in another 50-60 years we might see this virus not causing death,” the article said, (striking a tone between comedy and tragedy for attuned ears from the AIDS wars.)

This poses a new situation. Those of you, for example, who have already set the wheels in motioning of expressing your rebellion against any goddamn yang about HIV’s powers by cancelling your subs to REASON…are now going to find yourselves in a world where HIV is gradually becoming the FORMER cause of AIDS.

How will you ever find relief for your thwarted senses of Rightness and Goodness in the world when the AIDS orthodoxy itself is stripping the virus of its virility?

Do you people have any idea how FUNNY you are?

AIDS is not funny and death is not funny but sputtering indignation…can be very funny. Link below:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4290300.stm

Comment by: Leo at October 4, 2005 10:57 AM

I posted this on another site now I am pasting it here. I gathered these facts to protect my own child after the Doctors did too many things that defied common sense

As a father, you think your child could possibly have HIV and you believe in the current HIV/AIDS theory completely. You might want to see the current success with AIDS drugs right? The current #’s for pediatric HIV children receiving treatment in the latest release in 2005 with the IHO’s stamp of approval are reporting this in the babies first 12 months of life

The risk of disease progression is inversely correlated with the age of the child, with the youngest children at greatest risk for rapid disease progression. In early reports, approximately 20-25% of HIV-infected children progressed to AIDS or death within the first year of life; in more recent reports, with follow-up through 1999, high rates of progression continue to be observed in young infants, with development of AIDS or death in 15% of HIV-infected children by age 12 months [99]. Progression to moderate or severe immune suppression is also frequent in infected infants; by 12 months of age, approximately 50% of children develop moderate immune suppression, and 20% severe immune suppression [99]. In a meta-analysis of 8 cohort studies and 9 clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe that included nearly 4,000 untreated, infected children, the 1-year risk of AIDS or death was substantially higher in younger than older children at any given level of CD4+ percentage, particularly for infants under age 12 months [43].

. As a father that might look pretty grim right? Well now you say lets look at the untreated control arm right? Guess what there is none. The IHO’s control arm that included untreated babies also included mono AZT=No control. So as a father do you see that whether Christine believes in HIV or not could be a moot point? These #’s are HORRIBLE and we are not even factoring in false positives here. Also as a father realizing that your rights to decide quality of life verses very toxic drugs with very poor results will evaporate if your child receives a positive test. There are many factors here but the Times agenda for claiming “Preventable Death” has got to be one of the most disturbing

Comment by: Fondoo at October 4, 2005 10:59 AM

I sent this review to Amazon. I am neither as skilled a writer as Mr. Breeze, nor nearly as athletic as the iconic Mr. Evans, but I am a Chief of the Palm Wine Drinkerds, and my University is at the center of the World.

—-

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

Africa Rejoice, August 25, 2004

Reviewer: Anthony Okoh (Ile-Ife, Nigeria) – See all my reviews

I am a Nigerian microbiologist who has been trying to convey the plain truth about HIV/AIDS to my brothers and sisters for almost ten years. Dr. Bialy’s fine book, which owes much to his tenure at my home university in the mid-1970s, will make this much, much easier. Thanks Prof. The “Palm Wine Drinkerds” of the World salute you. “You are Karid”!

Anthony Okoh

President,

Staff Club,

Obafemi Awolowo University,

Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Comment by: Anthony Okoh at October 4, 2005 11:26 AM

The internet is a gas. My godfather’s book, as I wrote to Amazon, is a groove.

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

A polyrhythmic groove , August 23, 2004

Reviewer: Codaryl, “Cody”, Moffett (NYC, NY)

Dr. Bialy is my godfather. Even so, his new book is one long cymbal roll with hi-hat accents and a bass line “to die for”.

Codaryl,”Cody”, Moffett

www.musicweb.uk.net/encyclopaedia

www.allaboutjazz.com

Comment by: Codaryl “Cody” Moffett at October 4, 2005 12:03 PM

A note from the author of all the wild praise.

As anyone might imagine, receiving reviews in the usual, high-profile places for a book such as my biograpahy of Peter Duesberg is ‘no easy’. But, the advent of online book stores like Amazon, offered other opportunities by providing customer review formats in an archival manner.

So, I had the publicist at North Atlantic send copies to a list of friends and colleagues whose comments would actually mean a lot to me personally, asking them to post something on Amazon.

I was gratified as they began to appear, as you can imagine, and even more gratified when they began to reappear here yesterday.

With the exception of Nature Biotechnology, no other major outlet, in particular neither Nature or Science, has seen fit to review the book. I am actually pleased by this because it means that they can find no big name to easily shoot it down. Trust me, if they could, they would have by now, especially as it is beginning to be noticed in a few academic circles.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 4, 2005 02:38 PM

I did mean ‘instigator’ not author, of course. But I am very excited after seeing all of the reviews above.

If I might ask Nick, similarly to Lee Evans, pleae correct the mistake and then delete this awkward post.

Damn, and here I was being praised with such style for my style and I go and do a Gerald Ford.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 4, 2005 02:42 PM

While waiting….

or Nick, you could delete everything after author.

or, you could insert, between ‘author of’ and ‘all’ – ‘the book that has received’.

I think I was somewhere between the two when I posted sans preview.

Anyway, when you do make whatever editorial adjustment you think fittest, please delete this post as well.

Thanks, Nick.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 4, 2005 03:07 PM

Back at Bezerkely in the late 60s, I was always known on the 4th floor of the then molecular biology and virus laboratory as a ‘serious counter watcher’. This meant that when I put my vials in the shared Beckmann scintillation counter for their first 1 min counts, I would, like some students and faculty (in those days professors actually did their own experiments) hang out and watch the counts flash in real time to get a sense of whether the experiment ‘worked’ or not, before setting the machine to recount the vials for 10 mins so that the count was statistically valid. Now a ‘serious counter watcher’ was somebody who sat in front of the machine for the 10 min counts as well. I exaggerate of course, but not so much.

The young professor Duesberg was at the other extreme. He never bothered with one minute counts, and went right for the hardcore 10 min variety, and then immediately after turning the counter on went back to the lab to prepare more vials!

Sitting in front of the counter was not always a waste of time. Sometimes I read a paper of the scientific variety or wrote a poem.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 4, 2005 03:37 PM

Closure: I just received this email from Nick, which I post only to make it clear that he is an attentive moderator of this discussion.

Dear Harvey,

In general–and this is in keeping with the spirit of the net and of blogging–we are inclined to leave errors in our comments section *and* their subsequent corrections in full view (some exceptions are libel and threats of violence). Such transparency is a dimension of the web that takes some getting used but is liberating in its own way. I hope you will understand that, given my current schedule and general editorial presumptions, I’ll be leaving things as they are.

Yrs,

Nick

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 4, 2005 04:18 PM

Leo, at risk of having my comment moderated, let me just state that as a South African with relatives working with people infected with the HIV virus or with full blown AIDS your sources and their ‘facts’ are wrong. I’m in fact tempted to actually accuse you of blatantly lying.

One case in point is how deaths in hospitals reported from secondary infections have spiked. The South African law allows families to refuse to disclose the real cause of death (to prevent intimidation and discrimination) and they choose to do so with AIDS. You are quite blatantly exploiting that nuance to further your own propaganda and since when are the coffin makers struggling here? There are now even financials schemes to finance funerals springing up and one can find financial advice like that trying to encourage bereaved relatives to not spend too much on too many fancy tombstones.

You however stated: ‘If I were you I would steer clear of Africa, because you are likely to get blown out of the water by people who have actually investigated the matter’.

That comment from you yourself rubbishes everything you yourself say as since when have you bothered to visit here and then what right to have to make your bogus claims against the above and when I see it and my relatives experience it first hand? Why don’t you bother to visit Baragwanath Hospital and work there for a few weeks with many of the AIDS patients that come in before making such statements?

Rian Malan is a crackpot and not respected whatsoever here. In fact he lines up with nutters who believe the Earth is hollow in the face of all proof to the contrary there as well. You mention nothing of how large numbers of companies are actually trying to now provide ARV’s to their workforces in response to collapsing productivity among their staff from AIDS related illnesses or how AIDS infections have caused a spike in suicide rates.

You don’t live here and you clearly don’t know anything about this country. You have no moral justification to make any claim about this country’s deaths when it is your stance that contributes to it and is damaging its economic growth prospects amongst others.

Comment by: Wayne at October 4, 2005 05:12 PM

Wayne:

While it may be true that I have little experience of the Motherland, the same cannot be said for Prof. Okoh and Lee Evans, who was the national track coach for both Nigeria and Cameroun in the 1970s and early 80s, and who savored and valued Dr. Bialys book, which documents the same case as the one you have castigated me for. It is from such sources, and above all from the brave and intelligent President of your country that I glean insight, inspiration and hope.

Comment by: Leo at October 4, 2005 08:04 PM

Although AIDS is not a disease but rather a SYNDROME/CATEGORY of other diseases, the fact remains that it is IMPOSSIBLE for one little miniscule virus to cause all of those diseases when those diseases all have different causes. Yet, we do have a label that when pasted on people’s foreheads, give them qualifications for all sorts of assistance. This alone can be a life saver! Yes the drugs are sometimes given credit for this and this gets some people all mad. Get over it. AIDS organizations often provide emotional support and other services, even free food due to donations and government funding. Those with the lable of HIV positive often qualify for disability and all of these supportive things can save people’s lives regardless of the label. To focus on the flawed theory, as groups like AIDSmythexposed.com and others do, and ignore this important aspect, is to continue the mud slinging war between the “two sides” which makes us ALL FULL OF IT.

Comment by: Somewhere Over The Rainbow at October 4, 2005 08:36 PM

Dear Over the Rainbow (and all ather interested parties),

In February 1999 I was diagnosed HIV+. I poisoned myself twice a day with toxic “medication” for 22 months until I decided to stop. I subsequently began reading up on the proper science that had been hidden from me by the mainstream media and medical world. It was Christine Maggiore’s book “What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS Was Wrong” that initially got my attention, but I promise you I didn’t stop there. After all, who wants to be wrong about something like that. Even staring at all this factual information contained in these “dissident” books and websites, acutely aware the whole time of how they legitimately chipped away at the validity of the mainstream info I’d believed for years, was no immediate match for the deep programming I’d experienced. It took me three years before I was able to completely renounce my life-threatening and debilitating fear that I was living with a wildly replicating viral monster in my blood. Those of us who have lived through this very unique kind of psychological terrorism, spawned by a grievous combination of greed and mass hysteria, are eternally grateful to those who have been brave enough to support us, Christine Maggiore among them.

But I am also grateful to people like you who provided me with comfort when I was completely immersed in my terror and didn’t know where to turn. All of you people that walked or ran or biked or sang or danced for AIDS awareness, or who volunteered in any capacity. I thank you. It was not in vain. You showed the world compassion for an ostracized community and offered love and support to people stricken with shame and fear.

This “dissident” movement is only asking everyone to become a little more well-informed. There is so much information out there that once absorbed will cause you to question what you’ve been told to believe. All you have to do is read it. A great place to start is www.aliveandwell.org. From there you will find all kinds of links.

It’s been 6 1/2 years since my HIV diagnosis and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been with no meds. But there are many others who live as I do who were diagnosed 10, 15, 20+ years ago. We’re all over the world. We’re living proof. Hear what we have to say. We’re not making anything up.

“…in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.” – Adolph Hitler, “Mein Kampf”

Comment by: Chris at October 4, 2005 10:25 PM

So I wonder how Eliza Jane Scovill died. If I had an overactive imagination, I might think it has something to do with the fact that her HIV-positive mother refused to even test her for the virus, much less take steps to track the status of her immune system. But when I take a deep breath and try to think of rational explanations, it’s obvious that she must have been killed by some medication. Of course. Isn’t that what it means to be human — we are naturally healthy and immortal, and it is only the insiduous medical establishment seeking to profit from our fear that has the power to harm our health. Or maybe she just died randomly, we have to keep an open mind, such things happen.

Comment by: Barbar at October 4, 2005 11:30 PM

Wayne may claim to be a South African, but his hysterical bombaste reveals his woeful ignorance of his country’s own recent history

Whenever we discuss AIDS cases or “AIDS deaths” in South Africa, let’s remember that any comparative statistical analysis designed to show which illnesses now afflict South Africans and which ones formerly were the causes of death must be acutely sensitive to how the definition of what constituted “South Africa” dramatically changed between 1989 and 1999.

Do you recall that, right Wayne?

You see, in 1989, South Africa was said, according to the official terminology, to have a total population of about 21 million.

But this figure consciously excluded the 6.1 million Africans who lived in the so-called TBVC states (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei), which comprised 100,000 square kilometers.

Furthermore, “South Africa” as defined in 1989 excluded another 8.2 million people who lived in the six “self-governing territories” (SGTs) that comprised a further 67,000 square kilometers.

The overwhelming majority of these 14.3 million Africans living in those fragmented territories were the most obvious victims of apartheid.

The huge rural slums of the TBVC countries were “urban” with respect to population density but “rural” with regard to the absence of proper infrastructure or services, especially in terms of public health.

The famous 1989 study by Wilson and Ramphele, *Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge* analyzed the depths of poverty which were caused by “insufficient labor, insufficient capital and the high risk of much toil yielding little fruit.”

In many cases, they explained that Africans were “too poor to farm; they cannot afford protective fencing or even to buy seed and fertilizer. Tractors may be too expensive to hire and oxen to weak to plough.”

The statistical reporting for any aspect of health, employment and living conditions among those 14.3 million Africans was fragmented and systematically evasive.

No one disputes that mortality and morbidity rates were far higher in the TBVC countries and the SGTs than in the rest of “South Africa.”

People in those areas suffered from much greater rates of protein anemia, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and dysentery, and life expectancy was much lower there than in the rest of “South Africa,” as defined in 1989.

Can you see what happened when the vital statistics on those 14.3 million people (who now number at least 17 million) were added for inclusion in post-apartheid, unitary South Africa?

Today, the impoverished inhabitants of those former rural slums are citizens of a single South Africa. Still following the thread, Wayne?

Their inclusion in public health statistics reveals much about the harmful living conditions that long prevailed in the TBVC and SGT areas under the apartheid regime, without any regard for the transmissibility of some mutant retrovirus from the Congolese rainforest or the aberrant or risky sexual behavior of truck drivers, prostitutes, or anyone else for that matter in South Africa.

As a frequent visitor and field researcher in northern Somalia (Somaliland), central Ethiopia, Swaziland, and all over South Africa, I can assure Wayne that the most sexual active and most overtly promiscuous people I ever saw in the continent were the trendy, upscale white folks at Camps Bay, Seapoint, and Umhlanga.

And those are the very LAST places one ever sees any cases of so-called AIDS.

Ever wonder why Wayne? Pssst…….I’ll let you (and you alone) in on a little secret……… AIDS cases have nothing whatsoever to do with sexual activity. Mum’s the word, Wayne. Don’t tell a soul.

You’ll destabilize an entire cottage industry if you do.

Comment by: Sheikh Somali at October 4, 2005 11:58 PM

Hey Sheik Somali, I think you forgot to include a link with your impressive “takedown” of Wayne.

http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/175.html

Jesus Christ you people are F-ing nutjobs.

Comment by: Barbar at October 5, 2005 12:07 AM

Hard to keep up with the condemnations, but am trying.

Barbar–which “people” did you mean when you said “Jesus Christ you people ate F-ing nutjobs?”

The people who question any facet of the HIV paradigm, ie the dissidents? Or the other guys?

Comment by: Robert at October 5, 2005 12:48 AM

It’s not the people who question “any facet” of the HIV paradigm.

Read Wayne’s post above, and then note Leo’s ridiculous reply, which essentially is an acknowledgment that he is incapable of having a discussion, but he’s pretty sure that somebody else could. Strong words coming from someone who had earlier said:

“If I were you I would steer clear of Africa, because you are likely to get blown out of the water by people who have actually investigated the matter.”

Then enter Sheikh Somali, who cuts and pastes from the link I provided above, adding a few spontaneous twists like changing “The 1989 study” to “The famous 1989 study,” wording which in itself indicates a steaming load of crap is coming. Not that I’m accusing Sheikh Somali of plagiarism; he may very well be “three-time Fulbright scholar” Charles Geshekter (sorry, I was looking for a CV but all I could find was repeated references to the three Fulbright scholarships for this PhD at Cal State University).

Sheikh Somali’s post just reeks of BS; its total informational content is “here are big numbers and famous studies and are you smart enough to keep up I hope you are.”

So what did I mean by “F-ing nutjobs”? I mean the people for whom being “skeptical” and “dissident” mean never being convinced by any argument presented towards you (in fact, never showing any inclination to take such arguments seriously) while being wholly convinced by any “argument” that seems to support your main idea, no matter how flimsy. You know, stuff like “Well I don’t know anything about science, but it’s quite apparent to me that CD4 tests are just a ridiculous fiction perpetrated by the medical community, and I just know the numerous references available on the Internet that refute that idea must be fraudulent.” This is nutjob behavior, and it seriously distresses me that so many people are taken in by it.

It’s good to be skeptical. The scientific consensus is sometimes wrong.

But if you don’t listen to and engage with the replies to your skeptical questions, I’m sorry, this is not “brave,” this is “stupid.”

And it can cap itself off in a woman REFUSING to have her daughter tested for HIV in the name of skepticism. Does that make any sense? She didn’t question SOME FACET of the HIV-AIDS paradigm; she refused to think that any of it could be true, and her child wound up dead.

Comment by: Barbar at October 5, 2005 01:41 AM

And while perhaps both you and Leo use the same email filler, Robert (no@email.com), I’m betting that I just wasted my time with that post.

Comment by: Barbar at October 5, 2005 01:45 AM

Sir Barbarian,

You compose literate comments, demonstrating a clearly superior intelligence, and Leo is clearly a moron for praising the courage, intellect and patriotism of my Pres. Thabo Mbeki?

How many chromosomes do you have?

P.S. I assure you that I am neither Leo nor Robert. I am “No E. Mail” (rather like Odysseus declared himself “No Man” to the blinded monster.)

Comment by: No E. Mail at October 5, 2005 05:13 AM

Wayne,

I am delighted that you wrote in, and will do my best to address your pyramid of arguments one brick at a time, but wanted to first hear from native South Africans.

There are many statements you made that do not make sense to me, but let me begin with what I can decipher:

1. I do not live in South Africa and you do. This is correct. I have however traveled extensively in West, central, east, and south Africa and collected perspectives from many people working directly with HIV/AIDS. I stay in touch with South African sources on an almost daily basis to keep my information up to date.

2. Your first point is: “…deaths in hospitals reported from secondary infections have spiked. The South African law allows families to refuse to disclose the real cause of death (to prevent intimidation and discrimination) and they choose to do so with AIDS.”

3. What do you mean? Infections secondary to what? Are you saying these are “AIDS” deaths or are you saying these are deaths from non-AIDS infections?

The latter part of your point here seems to support what I said: You are providing yet another scenario whereby the clinical definition of AIDS in South Africa, in this case post-mortem, is obscured. This is exactly my point. That people are dying is not in question. What of?

Deaths from what is now called AIDS were epidemic indeed during Apartheid.

How about this, from the Archives of Race Relations in Johannesburg:

“In the years 1964-65, 50% of black babies were dead before the age of five.” The causes are poverty: Fever, diarrhea, pneumonia, and so forth.

FIFTY PERCENT BEFORE THE AGE OF FIVE.

You state that Rian Malan “is a crackpot,” that he is “not respected whatsoever here,” and that he “lines up with nutters who believe the Earth is hollow..”

I will try to contact Mr. Malan and see if it is true that he believes the earth is hollow, and/or has friends or sources who believe that. If he has not gone on record with this, then you owe this forum a retraction and Mr. Malan an apology. You should take greater care with your statements and your words if you wish to be taken seriously.

I will have to scan the South African literary and journalistic landscape to check the veracity of your statement that Malan–one of South Africa’s most famous writers, has no credibility left due to his trenchant pieces analysing wild and wooly South African AIDS figures.

Can we agree that accuracy is a positive and not a negative? Even in HIV/AIDS figures?

As for “large numbers of companies,” “trying” to provide ARVs to their collapsing workforces–I can scarcely imagine what your point is. Has Thabo Mbeki thwarted this benevolent gesture too? I know as well as you do that ARVs are available to any South African that WANTS to take them. I have a recent figure, from a study, that would give you pause if anything gave you pause: Guess what number of South Africans (in this study) who were told offered ARVs, actually wanted them?

0.6 %

Would you like the citation?

Lastly, the accusation that I personally have caused an increase in death and a decrease to South African “economic growth” due to my inquiries on this REASON thread, speaks for itself. It speaks to the hysterical, zombified, wild-eyed quality of all South African AIDS professionals who would like to persuade the world that there are no real questions here, only brain fungus, madness, flat-earthism, and homicidal intentions. It won’t fly anymore. Nobody believes your posture anymore. We’d like to hear from some black South Africans, as a matter of fact–those who re-elected President Mbeki and comprise as you are well aware about 90% of your nation’s population.

Do you really think I need a “moral justification” to analyze death statistics from South Africa? From who, from you?

Your most telling line was the one about the spike in suicide rates among those you have deprived of all hope to live, with your AIDS, AIDS, AIDS, death-drums. You have deprived black, poor South Africans of any hope of survival, as well as saddled them, on no evidence, with the guilt of their sickness. You have had the nerve to tell them that they are dying because they had sex. Or is it “dry” sex, or “rough” sex, or perhaps just “too much” sex.

Have you no sense of decency?

Lastly, what IS your explanation for the lack of HIV’s spread in any Western nation vs its supposed wildwire spread across the sexes in South Afica? I’d love to hear it.

Comment by: Leo at October 5, 2005 06:26 AM

I refer to the frothy post of one Wayne, who I’m embarrassed to see is a fellow South African. He appears to be an uneducated person.

I can confirm, however, that his sort of talk is fairly typical of white South Africans whose opinions are derived from what they see on television and read in the newspapers.

He talks of ‘people infected with the HIV virus’. Does he mean HIV-positive? Because oddly enough none of the antibody test kit manufacturers suggest the one means the other.

Would it be a lucky guess, that in referring to ‘people infected with the HIV virus’, Wayne is referring to black people? I also live in South Africa, and believe me, when people like Wayne wring their hands over AIDS everywhere, they always mean disease-ridden blacks. Who got themselves sick because they screw around more than whites. (Not because of their miserable living conditions, in hopeless rural backwaters or peri-urban slums.) Indeed, one of our country’s top ‘AIDS experts’, Professor Jerry Coovadia (a South African Indian) said this out loud on 24 June 2003 in his acceptance speech at the University of the Witwatersrand on being awarded an honorary doctorate for being such a clever ‘AIDS expert’: ‘As we stagger under the massive weight of AIDS’, it is the ‘unbridled sexuality … of newly independent people … especially the promiscuity of men’ that has led to ‘AIDS … ripping through millions of our people’. (In the parlance of South African ‘AIDS experts’ ‘our people’ is always a sympathetic reference to blacks.) Supreme Court of Appeal judge Edwin Cameron thinks and talks the same way. In an interview published in the Daily Dispatch on 13 November 2001, he was asked how he managed ‘as a white gay person [to] confront the issue of risk behaviour among heterosexuals [sex without a condom] without being accused of bias’. He replied evasively: ‘It’s the one issue I can’t tackle directly.’ But then he blurted it out: ‘Instead I talk about how promiscuity in the gay community contributed to its spread [a baseless canard] and that gives me the opening to ask, ‘Do you think sexual practice among African men has contributed?’

Bar a handful of gay men, who’ve bought into the scam for an array of psychological reasons that I examine in my book in depth, since these guys drive the AIDS hysteria in our country, there is no AIDS among whites, South African Indians or ‘coloured’ people – certainly none to be seen on any scale worth mentioning. In South Africa, the AIDS industry locates ‘AIDS’ among blacks. It’s blacks who are spreading AIDS. It’s blacks who have to be helped. (By Wayne’s ‘relatives’.)

What I find interesting is that whites seeing scary sexually transmitted diseases among blacks is nothing new. I’ve performed a close study of ‘syphilis’ in Africa, which I’ve written up for my new book, and the parallels are striking. Especially the need to burn it out with strong chemicals.

What’s ‘full-blown AIDS’? It’s a dramatic expression that rolls nicely off the tongue, but it’s perfectly vacant. As Luc Montagnier, the alleged discoverer of ‘the HIV virus’, no less, has pointed out: ‘AIDS has no particular symptoms’.

As for the effect of ‘AIDS’ on industry in South Africa, Minister of Trade and Industry Alec Irwin confirmed on the morning radio show AM Live on 19 April 2002: ‘There is no definite concrete evidence’ that AIDS is having any impact on industry at all. Commenting on statistics just released predicting a massive reduction in the workforce, Irwin pointed out, quite correctly, that the numbers were just ‘projections based on models’. Asked after the weekend on the same show for his response, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, was full of talk about the ‘epidemic’ and the spectre of everyone dropping down dead as the ‘AIDS experts’ were predicting, but had to agree: ‘There is no indication that there is a large number of workers dying.’

From his agitated, indignant tone, I suggest that what Wayne needs to do is pour a nice brandy and coke and go off and relax with a copy of You magazine. There he can read Pieter Dirk Uys calling President Mbeki a murderer.

He wouldn’t want to go anywhere near Rian Malan’s timeless investigation of the white South African psyche, My Traitor’s Heart. That would be a too ‘nuanced’.

ANTHONY BRINK

www.tig.org.za

Comment by: Anthony Brink at October 5, 2005 06:27 AM

Visiting scientist Charles E. Gilks, who works at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi, cautioned in a paper in the British Medical Journal in 1991 that the clinical case definition for AIDS in Africa is virtually useless, as it fails to distinguish between infections resulting from HIV, and those such as TB, malaria, and parasitic infections that are endemic in these parts of Africa, and that, independent of HIV, themselves lead to severe immune suppression. The results, Gilks warned, is that “substantial numbers of people who are reported as having AIDS may in fact not have AIDS.”

One of the diseases that is the most difficult to distinguish from African AIDS is pulmonary tuberculosis, which shares virtually all its symptoms even if HIV is not present.

“The symptoms are the same by and large,” said Dr. Okot Nwang, a TB specialist working at Old Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. “Prolonged fever? The same. Loss of weight, the same. Blood count? A little confusing, CD4 count, both low. So what’s the difference? Maybe diarrhea.”

From 1985 to 1989, the number of TB patients at Mulago Hospital practically doubled. Most of these were cases of pulmonary TB. It is estimated that there are 4 to 5 million cases of highly infectious TB per year worldwide. Annually, 3 million people die of the disease. According to a study by Nwang, pulmonary TB is most common in the age group of 15- to 44- year-olds, who comprise 70 to 80 percent of all cases. In light of this, it seems odd that so many doctors make the point that AIDS in Africa is “new” because it is a disease that is killing young people. TB is also killing young people. The ratio of male to female cases with TB is also similar to that of slim, two males to one female. How much of what is called AlDS in Africa is really TB?

Comment by: Leo at October 5, 2005 06:36 AM

Doh! I can’t stay mad at Reason forever.

Nick, sign me up for another two years. The check is in the mail. Just don’t let this happen again.

The “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” line is still dangerous, “alternative medicine”, bullshit, though. (Speaking of “Bullshit:” Nick, your magazine did interview Penn Jillette a few months back. I suggest you re-read it.)The “toxins” that Maggoire said she’d be exposing her DEAD daughter (I have to remind people she DEAD) to if she put her on AZT, would any of you AIDS deniers care to tell us what those “toxins” exactly are? How is they any different than the “toxins,” “stress, “subluxations,” “bad chi,” or other nonsensical sources for disease that quacks and snake-oil salesmen have used for centuries? Should I disregard 20+ years of careful, peer reviewed, medical research into the nature of HIV and AIDS on the word of an irresponsible, hippie-dippy, woman WHO LETS HER DAUGHTER DIE (again, I feel the need to remind people) and couple of ethically questionable “doctors?”

Maggiore deserves to rot in a prison cell for KILLING HER DAUGHTER (another reminder) for however many years she has left. I’d say the same for Christian Scientists who let a child die of cancer because they expected their mythical “God” to heal them. I’d say the same for parents who smother their kids in “rebirthing” rituals pushed by quacks posing as psychologists. Any time a child or a person incapable of making an informed choice, dies due to fraudulent or negligent care, there must be dire consequences for the care-givers.

An example must be made to the kooks, quacks, and charlatans of the world. It should start with Maggiore.

Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at October 5, 2005 09:31 AM

First off, Anthony Brink, why don’t you bother to visit the Treatment Action Campagin’s webiste at http://www.tac.org.za/ and explain why your site and your claims conflict so badly with their reported statistics. Further, please explain why the construction industry is reporting the high absenteeism rates it is and why Anglo American, Goldfields and other mining companies are specifically offering free ARV’s.

Secondly, if you’re ashamed to be a fellow South African with me while spouting your stance – Good! I’m not the one whose stance will cause millions to die.

Thirdly, your opinions mirror that exactly of the South African Libertarian Society dissidents, and whom I have disagreed vehemently with despite my own libertarian stances. Indeed, what I’m picking up are allusions that trade unions are evil and because COSATU is involved it’s all lies. Rubbish – if you really are on the path of truth you would realise that that involves consideration of all views.

If your accusation is that I’m then an idiotic YOU magazine reader when measured against my visits to the Jo’burg Hospital, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital along with a brother, sister and two cousins who practice in the medical profession then why don’t you and the others above drop the Strawman arguments. It is utterly unbelievable that you actively flout your connection to the disgraced Rath Foundation who was the same one who delayed the rollout of ARV’s and other medication by influecing Thabo Mbeki and Manto-Tshabala Msimang.

And didn’t you neglect to mention some Leo. Namely that the South African Government’s provisional budget for ARV’s is only R6 billion and that can only support roughly 50,000 to 60,000 people who require ARV’s – hence where you get your bogus 0.6% figure. They can’t have it because there’s none available! Hospitals and pharmacies are repeatedly reporting stockouts of such drugs even while state hospitals are enduring substantial thefts of such drugs that are then sold at premiums on the black markets.

It’s hugely ironic then that where libertarians regard the free market as the indicator of real values you are also so intent on ignoring that factor as well. The high premium on such drugs even in the face of legislation to try limit the prices thereon is a pivotal indicator of real South African feelings. White South Africans may be able to afford the premium but blacks can’t. Who’s the racist now?

Sheikh Somali, PSST, here’s a little secret of my own you should consider- what the hell do sixteen plus year old statistics and tomfoolary about the Bantustans have to do with this when one can strip their effect out and still get the same result?

I know fully well that they were reincorporated into RSA and their mention proves nothing. The trend data showing declines in average lifespans to under fifty since 1994, population growth rates that have turned negative even while there has been a decade of real increases in spending on health by the central and provicial governments. Why then do the stats for the former Bantustans also show declining lifespans and population growth over the same period?

Further still, how dare you try play the race card? The majority of racist white South Africans actually actively support your stance because they want black South Africans to die and they know your HIV-denial stance is blatantly wrong. They regularly remark at dinner parties “Oh, good. That means there will be less blacks around and it’ll be better for us (whites).” It is amusing that your tacit supporters include the AWB and far right groups who view AIDS as ‘the way the Lord will purge Africa’. Sleep well with that knowledge in your head, unless you already do.

As for secondary infection, well Leo. How about you consider your little claim about TB above and thank you for proving my case. That is exactly an example firstly of what most victims families prefer the death certificates to say as the cause of the death. Further, many rural clinics are not sufficiently resourced or staffed with skilled nurses to be able to properly assess the cause of death. The result supplied is usually the apparent or secondary infection is what is written on the death certificates – leading to botched and bogus statistics.

This has created untold quandries for doctors where an abusive male partner dies of AIDS and his family legally bar his wife from being told of the cause. Several months later the wife is dead from another opportunist disease and the children orphaned. I’m amazed that no one here is even prepared to contemplate the paternalistic patterns locally that prejudice women rights and encourage discrimination of those infected with AIDS – hence the masking of true statistics as many hide their HIV+ status.

Speaking of those children, please explain why we now have over a million AIDS orphans who, if they are lucky, are cared for by struggling grandparents? If so called poverty or poor conditions are the real cause of AIDS why are the vast majority of deaths in the ‘physically and medically strong’ 20 to 40 year old age group while the ‘weaker’ young and elderly or decrepit are the ones that survive or mysteriously linger on when the so-called airy fairy notion of poverty or disease should claim them? This also comes when clinics in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal alone are reporting sometimes near 50% infection rates amongst pregnant mothers at the same time of rising death rates and infant mortality. Why is there such a strong correlation?

Indeed, why was the average lifespan of South Africans rising and then took a turn for the worse at the arrival of HIV and AIDS locally even while electrification and the supply of water to the poor has been undertaken on such a massive scale. Projects that are meant to be linked to increasing lifespans and reductions in poverty.

So Leo, how about this for an explanation. It is spread through unprotected sexual contact, the use of drugs and such implements as needles, the transmission of infected blood and the late Apartheid Government’s own rubbish medical literature tempering into the AIDS dissident endorsed views of Manto-Tshabala Msimang and Thabo Mbeki. All of which have to do with lack of education and rubbish religious conservative views of abstinence instead of protection. It is ironic then that when spending on AIDS, ARV’s, condoms and education has increased lately the rate of infection has slowed. The failure of South Africa is the fruit of your own stance, not the mainstream.

In conclusion I don’t expect to convince the bunch of you denialists otherwise but I am incredibly disgusted by your poor conclusions and your Chomsky like reasoning. You spout your views when most of you merely sit behind a computer or book and readily page to that text which supports your views without any proper consulation, consideration or interrogation of the facts that suggest otherwise. This comes from a ‘an important person most people don’t know or care about and who has not real qualifications said so therefore it’s true’, ‘a 1989 statistics said x therefore abc is true’, etc.

I’m pretty sure most of you are actually psychologically predisposed to believing that what you are writing or advocating is true or just and that the other side is wrong, but then so did Stalin. As he also famously remarked ‘when one person dies it is a tragedy, when one dies it is a statistic’. Ironically it is your love of such statistics of body counts that is the main rational for supporting your views in your own heads.

And let me add that if I have merely distracted you long enough from spouting or propogating your rubbish elsewhere or I’ve convinced one person here otherwise and maybe affirmed another reader’s sane view on AIDS I feel I’ve done my job. I can’t convince you but others should see the facts that need to be stacked up against yours and they can make up their minds independently.

Comment by: Wayne at October 5, 2005 10:18 AM

I don’t know this for sure, but “Barbar’s” mindless blatherings sure sound alot like Babar.

Her rambling and discursive gibberish, of course, failed to address or even remotely answer the key points raised by Leo, Brink and me. C’est la vie…….

Barbar and Wayne are staunch members of the Church of AIDS Orthodoxy.

Like good fundamentalists everywhere their memorized catechism is: “UNAIDS/Peter Piot said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

Their fruitless and unproductive hypothesis is detached from the specifics of African history, political economy, common sense, and logic.

Yo’ Barbar……..why are you wasting time with emails when there are quilts to be made, red ribbons to be worn, condoms to be distributed, and foolish, irrational fears to be spawned?

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of something that he was never reasoned into in the first place.” Jonathan Swift

Comment by: Sheikh Somali at October 5, 2005 10:21 AM

The edgy, name-calling villifications from Wayne’s World merely confirm anew the seething, raging angst that infests AIDS dogmatists like him.

They are the true fanatics who won’t change their minds and they won’t change the subject.

One only has to read the accounts by British historian Richard Evans about the London trial of Holocaust Denier David Irving to see how perfectly the Church of AIDS Orthodoxy uses and accepts the methods of the real denialists.

While the AIDS Orthodoxy bitterly demonizes its critics as “Holocaust Deniers,” the work of Cambridge University historian Richard Evans has made it clear that the faux methods, distortions of evidence, and numerous anomalies in the AIDS orthodoxy’s method so closely and eerily resemble that of the Holocaust deniers [cited in D.D. Guttenpan, “The Holocaust on Trial,” Atlantic, February 2000, pp. 64-65]

Listen up Wayne…….

“Penetrating beneath the confident surface of his [David Irving] prose quickly revealed a mass of distortion and manipulation….a simple knotted web of distortions, suppressions and manipulations became evident in every single instance which we have examined….I was not prepared for the sheer depths of duplicity….this dishonesty permeated his entire spoken and written output….it is as all-pervasive….his numerous mistakes and egregious errors are not, therefore, due to mere ignorance or sloppiness: on the contrary, it is obvious that they are calculated and deliberate. That is precisely why they are so shocking….Irving has relied in the past, and continues to rely in the present, on the fact that his readers and listeners, reviewers and interviewers lack either the time, or the expertise, to probe deeply enough into the sources he uses for his work to uncover the distortions, suppressions and manipulations to which he has subjected them.”

You are vexed and infuriated Wayne, because people like Brink, Leo, and others have taken the time to investigate the flaws, anomalies, errors, faux predictions, and inconsistencies in the anti-science of AIDS Orthodoxy and are now rubbing your true believer’s nose in it.

If I were you (God forbid!), I would be enraged and flabbergasted too.

So your flailings and bombastic charges have a certain, uh, charm to them……rather like those in the medical profession who, 25 years ago, reacted furiously to the calm, reasonable suggestions of Aussies Barry Marshall and Robin Warren………

Remember them?

Comment by: Sheikh Somali at October 5, 2005 10:36 AM

Is there any good reason to take the Treatment Action Campaign’s Zackie Achmat seriously about anything, given his proud boast in the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper on 20 February 2002: ‘We are scientifically illiterate.’?

If you spread a rumour that there’s a new illness going about, people tend to believe it. And then one day when they wake up not feeling so hot they tend to think gee I’ve got it. I think I’d better stay at home today. Geddit?

The mining houses are offering free ARVs because their medical advisors advise them that they save lives. Why, the glossy advertisement says so.

I’m not sure how I can cause ‘millions to die’ by warning my countrymen that when as little as 25mg AZT (one quarter the quantity in a single capsule supplied by GlaxoSmithKline) comes packaged for giving rats in research labs, the label bears an orange stripe imprinted with a skull and crossbones icon to signify potentially fatal toxic chemical hazard to the handler – spelt out in six languages: ‘Toxic Giftig Toxique Toxico Tossico Vergiftig’ – and the warning: ‘TOXIC Toxic to inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed. Target organ(s): Blood Bone marrow. In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show the label where possible). Wear suitable protective clothing.’ (It’s no joke. I have an original bottle. See photo at www.tig.org.za.

As for the rest of this sad fellow’s frantic effusions, perhaps someone else has the time. He seems to have problems.

Anthony Brink

Comment by: Anthony Brink at October 5, 2005 10:57 AM

Extremeley interesting site, with this and other extremely interesting, and well written articles.

Serge Lang’s Challenges

Comment by: Malachi at October 6, 2005 12:07 PM

The chances of Christine Maggiore conceding that her daughter had HIV, PCP or AIDS is EXACTLY ZERO.

The position of the denialist is one of blind obstinacy. It doesn’t matter how many ostensibly healthy young men and women land in the hospital with a fatal illness that only presents to severely immune compromised individuals, they’ll offer a hundred alternative ideas about how it happened.

Alison Gertz is a classic example of HIV=AIDS. At the age of 23, the affluent young woman (who was not a drug user) experiences fever and a tightness in her chest and after a lung biopsy, PCP was found. I CHALLENGE ANYONE to come up with a young HIV negative individual not taking immunosuppressive drugs (organ recipients) or suffering from cancer who has developed PCP, PML, CMV Retinitis. But I won’t hold my breath!

Two things are exceedingly telling of Christine Maggiore’s story. #1 – she was supposedly a loving, caring parent who raised her children with whole, organic foods, without vaccinations and without the use of those “evil” antibiotics. Meanwhile, the child winds up dead from PCP. Hmm…..

#2 – Maggiore has endlessly repeated that western medicine is toxic and that her children are raised in a healthy atmosphere, where they’re not exposed to such things as antibiotics. So what in the hell would ever make her give such a “toxin” like Amoxicillin to her child? I mean, she’s a pretty tough chick who doesn’t take any shit from anyone and never caved to the pressure of taking antivirals during pregnancy or bottle feeding to avoid passing on HIV to her children BUT we’re expected to believe that Eliza Jane had a runny nose and some fluid in her ear and that caused Maggiore to feed her child what she considers to be poison?!

Come on folks! Smell the coffee already! The reason she caved in and fed Eliza Jane antibiotics is because Eliza Jane was a hell of a lot more ill than Christine lets on. This was an illness she knew she wasn’t just going to hum away during yoga and meditation.

And lastly, one very ironic aspect of Maggiore’s utter and complete bullshit is how she picks and choses scientific facts, according to what’s most beneficial at any given time. Maggiore’s every other word is Duesberg (Dr. Duesberg) regarding HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Yet Maggiore also states – ad nauseam – that HIV has never been proven to exist in the first place. Meanwhile, Duesberg states emphatically THAT HIV DOES EXIST. He believes it’s a harmless retrovirus but he states that the evidence for HIV is actually better than the evidence for almost every single retrovirus ever discovered. Duesberg states that HIV has been cloned and isolated, photographed and documented – and its existence is absolutely irrefutable. (feel free to visit his website where he goes into this at length)

So, I don’t know why it matters what the coroner said. Every single physician on the planet could state that Eliza Jane died from PCP and Maggiore’s God could land on her doorstep telling her that Eliza Jane’s HIV infection caused her immunodeficiency and her death and Maggiore would STILL deny it.

That’s who Christine is – a lying, twisting, ignorant, self-righteous, murdering denier. To expect closure after the death of Eliza Jane on this matter is to expect a level of humility not worthy of her.

Comment by: Hanna at October 6, 2005 03:52 PM

Hanna-

You are absolutely right!!!!

I know this family, sympathize with them and am very supportive of their movement to protect parents rights to make choices with regard to the care of their children. Obviously they made the “right” choices for their son who is HIV-negative, extremely healthy and breastfed until around age 6…If he had been given AZT in the womb and in infancy it would have been detrimental to his health.

But, Eliza Jane was a sick child with developmental delays. Sure on a given day, she was normal and healthy but overall, it’s insane to assert that there was nothing wrong with her. And, while it’s little reported, she was EXTREMELY ill toward the end. I don’t think they even gave the doctors a complete picture of what was happening.

You hit the nail on the head about the antibiotics. For her to give the child drugs, she must have seen that Eliza Jane was dying.

I actually think they made an honest mistake (mostly in assuming they could have another healthy child). My issue with the now is the lack of honesty and the unwillingness, while I understand their need to continue their own denial, to stop purporting that they know AIDS is not real. That has the potential to hurt other HIV positive women who may consider having children.

I’m about as liberal and anti-western medicine as they come and I think this is extremely insane.

Comment by: katy at October 6, 2005 09:32 PM

Well, Hanna, that series of insults seems a little excessive, and it spoils what is otherwise an excellent virtue of your post, which is that it shows a working mind, which is somewhat rare on the side you are supporting.

Why don’t you grant Christine Maggiore her due, which is that she developed her position from challenging claptrap and thinking for herself, which is exactly what you are doing on the opposite side? In this you both share the same rare virtue, the ability to think for yourself!

However, if you will allow me to say so without flying into a furious attack on my motivations, character, intelligence etc, you and the people on your side suffer from a certain handicap here, which is that you are not yet fully informed as to the best material on the other side of the argument.

I am not saying this is in any way your fault, even though I doubt that you have looked into it very far, given your impressive confidence in the status quo. The other side is not one which is typically aired in the magazines, newspapers and even medical and scientific journals dealing with AIDS.

In fact, just reading through this comment thread it is easy to see that virtually no one here who supports HIV=AIDS as an unquestionable truth is familiar with even the existence of the now very substantial, intensely peer reviewed scientific literature beginning in 1987 which says that the idea is a crock, to use a blunt term.

The fact is that the series of very finely argued and fully referenced (using mainstream journal papers) review articles by Peter Duesberg and other very good scientists in the leading journals in science (Cancer Research, Proceedings of the National Academy, etc) utterly refute this theory and damn it as pure nonsense.

They do this on the “overwhelming” evidence that the supporters provide (never including any paper proving or even explaining how it happens that HIV caues AIDS, by the way), and they have continued since 1987 without interruption dealing with the supposed new evidence and claims as they come up without ever being refuted in the same journals.

That’s right, the articles reviewing and rejecting the idea that HIV causes AIDS in the top literature have never been answered in the same journals in peer-reviewed articles, as would happen if there was anything scientifically valid to be said in its defense.

Think about this for a minute. Peer review, meaning the testing of a submitted article by handing it over for criticism to scientists of good standing in the field, is the gold standard of science. If an article passes peer review then it can be published as valid by the editors of a journal. In the case of Duesberg’s articles, it was even a more severe test than normal. The number of reviewers chosen was often more than usual, and they were always stalwart supporters of the theory he was exploding, and naturally hostile to what he wrote and extremely determined to find fault with it and reject it.

The editors, also, were extremely anxious to cover their own backsides and make sure they were not accused of printing articles which could later be attacked as faulty and perhaps “dangerous”, in that they might mislead people into sex without condoms, a favorite reason defenders like to use as argument why criticism of HIV=AIDS should be banned. (Ever asked yourself why people argue that a scientific claim that is valid shouldn’t be examined?)

Thus, the fact that the very hostile expert reviewers were unable to prove these many anti-HIV articles were faulty and prevent their publication tells you something. These reviews which reject HIV=AIDS are therefore in fact the best scientific literature on the topic, and THEY are the establishment opinion in science, NOT the theory HIV=AIDS, which misrepresents what is going on in true science by claiming in public, ie outside the reach of peer review, the exact opposite.

The last one was published in 2003 in the Journal of Biosciences of the Indian Academy of Sciences, and is definitive in its answer to every single question raised in this thread. It can esily be found at http://www.duesberg.com and anyone interested can read it for themslves.

The only reason we have this wrong and a false impression rules, is that the error and the scientists who promote it have the enthusiastic support of the politicians, science reporters (rarely do they question any source in high position), health officials, medical authorities, ex-presidents, Hollywood actors, ordinary scientists and doctors, AIDS activists, drug companies and everybody else who never reads the review literature and trusts what the few scientists at the top of AIDS have led them to believe. In other words, politics supports it, not science.

These scientists have their own peer-reviewed literature of course, tens of thousands of AIDS papers which have been reviewed uncritically by friendly peers and all of which just assume HIV leads to AIDS, as a premise.

Not one of them addresses the question with research (try getting funds for that!), not one proves it or even explains how it could possibly happen that a virus type (retrovirus) that has never otherwise caused any problem for humans (pace Bob Gallo!) is suddenly killing them.

To fathom all this you just have to stop reading newspapers while assuming that their reports are soundly based and they interpret events correctly. You have to go and check out the scientific literature, or at least find out what is going on behind the scenes by reading books such as Peter Duesberg’s “Inventing the AIDS Virus”, Harvey Bialy’s “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: The Life and Times of Peter Duesberg”, Serge Lang’s “Challenges” and Gordon Moran’s “Silencing Scientists and Other Scholars”.

Duesberg’s book is the easiest to read, though Bialy’s and Lang’s are the most stunning in their factual revelations of misbehavior by scientists who use politics to push unwanted reviews like Duesberg’s under the carpet. Criticizing a scientist’s theory is like insulting his wife. He is unlikely to invite you home to dinner.

Given the fact that you are such a perceptive critic of some of the human weaknesses shown in poor Christine’s performance, including inconsistency in choosing establishment medicine when she had so long rejected it for her child, perhaps in panic or simply because administering amoxicillin is such standard practice in child ear infections, you are probably already instinctively familiar with some of the things you will find out.

You know them already, if you are a thinker. One is that scientists are like other humans, and tend to be driven by self interest, money and fame if they are not the strictly vocational type. And so are those officials, activists etc, who are not truly the idealists they profess to be.

In other words, like anyone else in the academy, scientists on top of the hill tend to try and kick back down the hill anyone who is trying to overturn them and the pet theory that they have long taught and in which they have invested their pride and career.

But you knew that, right? It applies of course to everyone in the field who has long believed and taught the error that HIV = AIDS, over the 21 years where that idea has escaped the continuing peer review that lies unread in the top scientific literature, and which condemns it as scientific nonsense.

That the press has been so misled by the top scientists in AIDS and by the officials that partner them only shows how incompetent reporters are at even thinking of challenging what scientists tell them. Indeed in the familiar modern manner of sucking up to their sources reporters and editors actively join them in bullying reviewers like Duesberg who threaten the status quo. Just as their followers on this thread bully and insult the questioners.

These underresearched and uncritical journalists are the people who are most to blame for misleading people like yourself, intelligent readers, into thinking that HIV=AIDS “denialists” are “lying, twisting, ignorant, self-righteous, murdering deniers” as you put it, rather than people who are simply questioning it and following the guidance of the best scientific literature on the topic.

The important point is that NO ONE READS THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE. Even most scientists just ask their colleague Bill in the field of AIDS what he thinks, and if Bill says the challenge is poppycock, and of course HIV causes AIDS, that’s enough for him.

Let me give you an example, which can be read in full at a newsblog I am writing which ridicules this behavior (http://www.newaidsreview.com/). Recently I checked out the scientific literature on the sexual transmission of HIV, and found that the mainstream journals contain at least 20 easily found articles which state that it is 1 in a 1000. In other words, it takes an average of 1000 copulations for man to transfer HIV positivity to a woman.

In other words, papers clearly visible in recent mainstream journals on AIDS state that the rate of heterosexual transmission of HIV is so extraordinarily low that a heterosexual epidemic, let alone a global pandemic, is utterly impossible. Yet billions are to be poured into sending drugs into underdeveloped countries on this premise.

Maybe the editors of the New York Times should be forced to read the scientific review literature, or at least one or two of the books mentioned above, before they indulge their happy and comfortable confidence in their fellow elites in science and medicine and repeat their AIDS mantra in every piece they publish, “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”.

And maybe we should be grateful to the few journalists such as Rian Malan, the South African novelist who merely told the truth as he saw it with his own eyes (and found that South Africa death statistics utterly failed to show any untoward bulge reflecting any new AIDS epidemic), and Celia Farber of New York City who does likewise in spite of being trashed endlessly by the HIV activists that she has now proved are overwhelmingly funded by the drug companies with a stake in the current belief.

But most of all we should be grateful to the lay people such as Christine Maggiore who somehow manage to think for themselves despite the huge pressure of their doctors’ opinions, and the whole weight of the medical and scientific establishment, against them. Especially in their most vulnerable moment, when they are tested supposedly positive for HIV (did you know that HIV proponents have spent years denying that she really was HIV positive, to account for the fact that she is healthy?).

Come to think of it, we should thank people like science editor Harvey Bialy, who see fit to write about the scientific truth and what is in the literature even though they are editing a very establishment journal (Nature Biotechnology), and then write a book exposing what has really happened in science politics to send the whole vast world of AIDS rushing down a dead end where patients get killed instead of cured (check out the actual results achieved by the new cocktails).

What is saddest in all of this is that people such as yourself should use their sharp wits to defend a belief which has been exploded in the scientific literature for 19 years, but which you have been misled by bad reporting and unscrupulous authorities into believing is a pillar of modern science.

As I say, I have been writing a blog review of the news in this area of science and related topics at http://www.NewAIDSreview.com which ridicules the scientists in AIDS and their unfounded nonsense since April, and I find the most discouraging thing is this very tendency of sharp witted people such as yourself to defend the conventional wisdom too quickly.

This seems odd to me, even though I know that part of it is a faith in good established science and medicine. I would have thought that it was at least obvious that honesty and truth would tend to be on the side of the questioners of a paradigm who persevere with such a vast weight of reflex scorn directed against them and who are made to suffer so for their different opinion. Certainly all the money and power flows to those who support HIV=AIDS, and none that I know of goes to those who point out it has been rejected by science. No one has made any money questioning HIV/AIDS, to my knowledge. Countless people have made their careers going along with it.

I am sad to say that I think this is what accounts for the lack of curiosity on the part of editors and journalists in this matter. I hope that Nick Gillespie’s natural skepticism follows up on this thread, rather than fades away under the distasteful influence of the shouts of “I am cancelling my subscription” (no truthseekers there!). If there is any arena where reason and skepticism of government influence should be applied, it is this.

Reporters in medicine and science know what side their bread is buttered. You don’t get Pulitzers for showing that HIV=AIDS is science derailed, in fact, you are lucky if you get a review of any kind. Look at Bialy’s bombshell of a book, which is languishing ignored even though it is the science book of the year for truthseekers in science. For $20 you can find out precisely what is going on offstage in science, if you can survive the very expert scientific discussion to enjoy the political stories.

But maybe the underresearched journalists and reporters who don’t take the lid of HIV/AIDS science are just dumb. After all, there is nothing more ignorant and foolish than the Los Angeles Time’s coverage which Nick Gillespie pointed to at the top of this thread. Ear infection is a most common ailment of small children and it is commonly treated with amoxicillin, and in “rare” cases (five per cent or more) as the American Academy of Pediatricians says as quietly as it can, there is a strong and sometimes fatal reaction.

Obviously poor Eliza Jane was killed by just such a reaction, and nothing to do with HIV-AIDS, which even according to the conventional wisdom doesn’t kill overnight. Any kind of pneumonia is ruled out immediately by the facts they reported. Can’t they or their editors see that? To report the stupidity of the coroner without some balancing comment by pediatricians who know their stuff is unprofessional, as is the whole tilt of their article against a skeptic of mainstream medicine.

They are professionally incompetent if they don’t know that the whole episode smacks of the habit of the medical professionals we trust helping the drug companies cover up adverse reactions to drugs. But that is the power of the HIV/AIDS superstition. Even worldly and seasoned LA Times staff are beguiled into a kind of social religion.

Why don’t you demand that the reporters question the conclusions of the coroner and the doctors who comment as much as they do Maggiore, who is after the mother, closest to the symptoms of her child and who is infinitely concerned about her life?

It is not as if establishment medicine has any right to claim infallibility. The evidence-based medicine research of the past fifteen years, which has steadily checked standard beliefs of ordinary physicians against actual research, has found all too many myths at work.

This movement (evidence-based medicine) is establishment medicine checking itself and finding mistakes to correct, just as establishment science has to do, as part of its progress. To treat any biological or medical belief as sacrosanct and Biblical is spitting into the wind of progress.

The whole point is this. The case of HIV/AIDS is a case of the establishment trying to correct itself, not one of ignorant New Agey critics saying the medical establishment is always wrong. If you want to support the best of established science, then you should support the reviewers effort to assert the best literature and its conclusions, not support those who have hijacked science and driven it over a cliff.

Comment by: Truthseeker at October 7, 2005 02:12 AM

I posted this on another site now I am pasting it here. I gathered these facts to protect my own child after the Doctors did too many things that defied common sense

As a father, you think your child could possibly have HIV and you believe in the current HIV/AIDS theory completely. You might want to see the current success with AIDS drugs right? The current #’s for pediatric HIV children receiving treatment in the latest release in 2005 with the IHO’s stamp of approval are reporting this in the babies first 12 months of life

The risk of disease progression is inversely correlated with the age of the child, with the youngest children at greatest risk for rapid disease progression. In early reports, approximately 20-25% of HIV-infected children progressed to AIDS or death within the first year of life; in more recent reports, with follow-up through 1999, high rates of progression continue to be observed in young infants, with development of AIDS or death in 15% of HIV-infected children by age 12 months [99]. Progression to moderate or severe immune suppression is also frequent in infected infants; by 12 months of age, approximately 50% of children develop moderate immune suppression, and 20% severe immune suppression [99]. In a meta-analysis of 8 cohort studies and 9 clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe that included nearly 4,000 untreated, infected children, the 1-year risk of AIDS or death was substantially higher in younger than older children at any given level of CD4+ percentage, particularly for infants under age 12 months [43].

. As a father that might look pretty grim right? Well now you say lets look at the untreated control arm right? Guess what there is none. The IHO’s control arm that included untreated babies also included mono AZT=No control. So as a father do you see that whether Christine believes in HIV or not could be a moot point? These #’s are HORRIBLE and we are not even factoring in false positives here. Also as a father realizing that your rights to decide quality of life verses very toxic drugs with very poor results will evaporate if your child receives a positive test. There are many factors here but the Times agenda for claiming “Preventable Death” has got to be one of the most disturbing

Comment by: Fondoo at October 7, 2005 03:04 AM

I can’t understand how a woman who started out thinking she would die of AIDS and came to the realization that it was all a crock could be expected to have her children tested by a very faulty nonspecific test. To this day we don’t know what this test measures, which could explain why Christine tested positive, negative and indeterminate at different times. There is no gold standard, and the disclaimers in the test packages admit that they cannot diagnose infection with HIV.

Christine had more than adequate reason to believe

testing was not only useless but possibly harmful, considering a positive test might result in being forced to give toxic drugs to a young child. AZT is a DNA chain terminator which was developed in the ’60’s as a cancer chemo drug but was never approved due to excessive toxicity. And we should give this to our children?

Trust me, Eliza Jane would have been far more likely to die from the drug than from any phantom disease. I know what PCP looks like–I had it. Or at least they tell me I did. I’ve come to believe I tested positive from a bad bout of the flu. You are all aware that as many as 70 conditions (pregnancy, flu and flu shots included) can result in a positive test? So with positive test in hand, bingo, I had PCP and AIDS. Apparently, PCP is quite difficult to differentiate from other pneumonias in the absence of tissue from an autopsy.

I will never get back the four years spent on those awful drugs. I will never be able to donate blood. I will never be able to get insurance and say that I “never” tested positive, because once you’re marked, you’re marked for life. And all this because Robert Gallo jumped the gun and announce a “probable” cause for AIDS at a restaurant and concurrently and conveniently had a test for this “virus” that made him millions.

And it’s too late to go back now–too many jobs at stake, too many billions thrown away, too much invested by Big Pharma in useless drugs and vaccines that willnever work because the test doesn’t measure virus, it measures antibodies, which up till now were a good thing.

Don’t call me a denialist. I don’t mind dissident, but I’m not denying anything. I’m reading and studying and rethinking. And that’s all we ask. Go back to the beginning. Look at how all this came about. Read some of the works by the stellar scientists who insist that HIV simply cannot be the cause of AIDS. dont assume that the powers that be have our best interests at heart–nothing could be further from the truth. Follow the money.

Comment by: moonchild at October 7, 2005 10:41 AM

Well, Hanna, that series of insults re Christine Maggiore seems a little excessive, and it spoils what is otherwise an excellent virtue of your post, which is that it shows a working mind, which is somewhat rare on the side you are supporting.

Why don’t you grant Christine Maggiore her due, which is that she developed her position from challenging claptrap and thinking for herself, which is exactly what you are doing on the opposite side? In this you both share the same rare virtue, the ability to think for yourself!

However, if you will allow me to say so without flying into a furious attack on my motivations, character, intelligence etc, you and the people on your side suffer from a certain handicap here, which is that you are not yet fully informed as to the best material on the other side of the argument.

I am not saying this is in any way your fault, even though I doubt that you have looked into it very far, given your impressive confidence in the status quo. The other side is not one which is typically aired in the magazines, newspapers and even medical and scientific journals dealing with AIDS.

In fact, just reading through this comment thread it is easy to see that virtually no one here who supports HIV=AIDS as an unquestionable truth is familiar with even the existence of the now very substantial, intensely peer reviewed scientific literature beginning in 1987 which says that the idea is a crock, to use a blunt term.

The fact is that the series of very finely argued and fully referenced (using mainstream journal papers) review articles by Peter Duesberg and other very good scientists in the leading journals in science (Cancer Research, Proceedings of the National Academy, etc) utterly refute this theory and damn it as pure nonsense.

They do this on the “overwhelming” evidence that the supporters provide (never including any paper proving or even explaining how it happens that HIV caues AIDS, by the way), and they have continued since 1987 without interruption dealing with the supposed new evidence and claims as they come up without ever being refuted in the same journals.

That’s right, the articles reviewing and rejecting the idea that HIV causes AIDS in the top literature have never been answered in the same journals in peer-reviewed articles, as would happen if there was anything scientifically valid to be said in its defense.

Think about this for a minute. Peer review, meaning the testing of a submitted article by handing it over for criticism to scientists of good standing in the field, is the gold standard of science. If an article passes peer review then it can be published as valid by the editors of a journal. In the case of Duesberg’s articles, it was even a more severe test than normal. The number of reviewers chosen was often more than usual, and they were always stalwart supporters of the theory he was exploding, and naturally hostile to what he wrote and extremely determined to find fault with it and reject it.

The editors, also, were extremely anxious to cover their own backsides and make sure they were not accused of printing articles which could later be attacked as faulty and perhaps “dangerous”, in that they might mislead people into sex without condoms, a favorite reason defenders like to use as argument why criticism of HIV=AIDS should be banned. (Ever asked yourself why people argue that a scientific claim that is valid shouldn’t be examined?)

Thus, the fact that the very hostile expert reviewers were unable to prove these many anti-HIV articles were faulty and prevent their publication tells you something. These reviews which reject HIV=AIDS are therefore in fact the best scientific literature on the topic, and THEY are the establishment opinion in science, NOT the theory HIV=AIDS, which misrepresents what is going on in true science by claiming in public, ie outside the reach of peer review, the exact opposite.

The last one was published in 2003 in the Journal of Biosciences of the Indian Academy of Sciences, and is definitive in its answer to every single question raised in this thread. It can esily be found at http://www.duesberg.com and anyone interested can read it for themslves.

The only reason we have this wrong and a false impression rules, is that the error and the scientists who promote it have the enthusiastic support of the politicians, science reporters (rarely do they question any source in high position), health officials, medical authorities, ex-presidents, Hollywood actors, ordinary scientists and doctors, AIDS activists, drug companies and everybody else who never reads the review literature and trusts what the few scientists at the top of AIDS have led them to believe. In other words, politics supports it, not science.

These scientists have their own peer-reviewed literature of course, tens of thousands of AIDS papers which have been reviewed uncritically by friendly peers and all of which just assume HIV leads to AIDS, as a premise.

Not one of them addresses the question with research (try getting funds for that!), not one proves it or even explains how it could possibly happen that a virus type (retrovirus) that has never otherwise caused any problem for humans (pace Bob Gallo!) is suddenly killing them.

To fathom all this you just have to stop reading newspapers while assuming that their reports are soundly based and they interpret events correctly. You have to go and check out the scientific literature, or at least find out what is going on behind the scenes by reading books such as Peter Duesberg’s “Inventing the AIDS Virus”, Harvey Bialy’s “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: The Life and Times of Peter Duesberg”, Serge Lang’s “Challenges” and Gordon Moran’s “Silencing Scientists and Other Scholars”.

Duesberg’s book is the easiest to read, though Bialy’s and Lang’s are the most stunning in their factual revelations of misbehavior by scientists who use politics to push unwanted reviews like Duesberg’s under the carpet. Criticizing a scientist’s theory is like insulting his wife. He is unlikely to invite you home to dinner.

Given the fact that you are such a perceptive critic of some of the human weaknesses shown in poor Christine’s performance, including inconsistency in choosing establishment medicine when she had so long rejected it for her child, perhaps in panic or simply because administering amoxicillin is such standard practice in child ear infections, you are probably already instinctively familiar with some of the things you will find out.

You know them already, if you are a thinker. One is that scientists are like other humans, and tend to be driven by self interest, money and fame if they are not the strictly vocational type. And so are those officials, activists etc, who are not truly the idealists they profess to be.

In other words, like anyone else in the academy, scientists on top of the hill tend to try and kick back down the hill anyone who is trying to overturn them and the pet theory that they have long taught and in which they have invested their pride and career.

But you knew that, right? It applies of course to everyone in the field who has long believed and taught the error that HIV = AIDS, over the 21 years where that idea has escaped the continuing peer review that lies unread in the top scientific literature, and which condemns it as scientific nonsense.

That the press has been so misled by the top scientists in AIDS and by the officials that partner them only shows how incompetent reporters are at even thinking of challenging what scientists tell them. Indeed in the familiar modern manner of sucking up to their sources reporters and editors actively join them in bullying reviewers like Duesberg who threaten the status quo. Just as their followers on this thread bully and insult the questioners.

These underresearched and uncritical journalists are the people who are most to blame for misleading people like yourself, intelligent readers, into thinking that HIV=AIDS “denialists” are “lying, twisting, ignorant, self-righteous, murdering deniers” as you put it, rather than people who are simply questioning it and following the guidance of the best scientific literature on the topic.

Comment by: AL at October 7, 2005 12:22 PM

To the person Katy who claims to know our family so intimately with specific regard to Eliza Jane’s health: I’m her father, who are you? I’d like to know how you know my family. Are you a parent in one of her play groups or classes who saw her every week? Who are you? There’s a large community of people at her school who witnessed my daughter’s health on a daily basis. Who are you? Please let us know what qualifies you to not only speak about our daughters health, but to contradict out experiences as parents, out pediatricians’ records and evaluations, and the the many people who saw her on a regular basis? Please, tell us, who are you?

Comment by: Robin Scovill at October 7, 2005 01:05 PM

(cont.)

The important point is that NO ONE READS THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE. Even most scientists just ask their colleague Bill in the field of AIDS what he thinks, and if Bill says the challenge is poppycock, and of course HIV causes AIDS, that’s enough for him.

Let me give you an example, which can be read in full at a newsblog I am writing which ridicules this behavior (http://www.newaidsreview.com/). Recently I checked out the scientific literature on the sexual transmission of HIV, and found that the mainstream journals contain at least 20 easily found articles which state that it is 1 in a 1000. In other words, it takes an average of 1000 copulations for man to transfer HIV positivity to a woman.

In other words, papers clearly visible in recent mainstream journals on AIDS state that the rate of heterosexual transmission of HIV is so extraordinarily low that a heterosexual epidemic, let alone a global pandemic, is utterly impossible. Yet billions are to be poured into sending drugs into underdeveloped countries on this premise.

Maybe the editors of the New York Times should be forced to read the scientific review literature, or at least one or two of the books mentioned above, before they indulge their happy and comfortable confidence in their fellow elites in science and medicine and repeat their AIDS mantra in every piece they publish, “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”.

And maybe we should be grateful to the few journalists such as Rian Malan, the South African novelist who merely told the truth as he saw it with his own eyes (and found that South Africa death statistics utterly failed to show any untoward bulge reflecting any new AIDS epidemic), and Celia Farber of New York City who does likewise in spite of being trashed endlessly by the HIV activists that she has now proved are overwhelmingly funded by the drug companies with a stake in the current belief.

But most of all we should be grateful to the lay people such as Christine Maggiore who somehow manage to think for themselves despite the huge pressure of their doctors’ opinions, and the whole weight of the medical and scientific establishment, against them. Especially in their most vulnerable moment, when they are tested supposedly positive for HIV (did you know that HIV proponents have spent years denying that she really was HIV positive, to account for the fact that she is healthy?).

Come to think of it, we should thank people like science editor Harvey Bialy, who see fit to write about the scientific truth and what is in the literature even though they are editing a very establishment journal (Nature Biotechnology), and then write a book exposing what has really happened in science politics to send the whole vast world of AIDS rushing down a dead end where patients get killed instead of cured (check out the actual results achieved by the new cocktails).

What is saddest in all of this is that people such as yourself should use their sharp wits to defend a belief which has been exploded in the scientific literature for 19 years, but which you have been misled by bad reporting and unscrupulous authorities into believing is a pillar of modern science.

As I say, I have been writing a blog review of the news in this area of science and related topics at http://www.NewAIDSreview.com which ridicules the scientists in AIDS and their unfounded nonsense since April, and I find the most discouraging thing is this very tendency of sharp witted people such as yourself to defend the conventional wisdom too quickly.

This seems odd to me, even though I know that part of it is a faith in good established science and medicine. I would have thought that it was at least obvious that honesty and truth would tend to be on the side of the questioners of a paradigm who persevere with such a vast weight of reflex scorn directed against them and who are made to suffer so for their different opinion. Certainly all the money and power flows to those who support HIV=AIDS, and none that I know of goes to those who point out it has been rejected by science. No one has made any money questioning HIV/AIDS, to my knowledge. Countless people have made their careers going along with it.

Comment by: AL at October 7, 2005 01:39 PM

(cont.)

The important point is that NO ONE READS THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE. Even most scientists just ask their colleague Bill in the field of AIDS what he thinks, and if Bill says the challenge is poppycock, and of course HIV causes AIDS, that’s enough for him.

Let me give you an example, which can be read in full at a newsblog I am writing which ridicules this behavior (http://www.newaidsreview.com/). Recently I checked out the scientific literature on the sexual transmission of HIV, and found that the mainstream journals contain at least 20 easily found articles which state that it is 1 in a 1000. In other words, it takes an average of 1000 copulations for man to transfer HIV positivity to a woman.

In other words, papers clearly visible in recent mainstream journals on AIDS state that the rate of heterosexual transmission of HIV is so extraordinarily low that a heterosexual epidemic, let alone a global pandemic, is utterly impossible. Yet billions are to be poured into sending drugs into underdeveloped countries on this premise.

Maybe the editors of the New York Times should be forced to read the scientific review literature, or at least one or two of the books mentioned above, before they indulge their happy and comfortable confidence in their fellow elites in science and medicine and repeat their AIDS mantra in every piece they publish, “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”.

And maybe we should be grateful to the few journalists such as Rian Malan, the South African novelist who merely told the truth as he saw it with his own eyes (and found that South Africa death statistics utterly failed to show any untoward bulge reflecting any new AIDS epidemic), and Celia Farber of New York City who does likewise in spite of being trashed endlessly by the HIV activists that she has now proved are overwhelmingly funded by the drug companies with a stake in the current belief.

But most of all we should be grateful to the lay people such as Christine Maggiore who somehow manage to think for themselves despite the huge pressure of their doctors’ opinions, and the whole weight of the medical and scientific establishment, against them. Especially in their most vulnerable moment, when they are tested supposedly positive for HIV (did you know that HIV proponents have spent years denying that she really was HIV positive, to account for the fact that she is healthy?).

Come to think of it, we should thank people like science editor Harvey Bialy, who see fit to write about the scientific truth and what is in the literature even though they are editing a very establishment journal (Nature Biotechnology), and then write a book exposing what has really happened in science politics to send the whole vast world of AIDS rushing down a dead end where patients get killed instead of cured (check out the actual results achieved by the new cocktails).

What is saddest in all of this is that people such as yourself should use their sharp wits to defend a belief which has been exploded in the scientific literature for 19 years, but which you have been misled by bad reporting and unscrupulous authorities into believing is a pillar of modern science.

As I say, I have been writing a blog review of the news in this area of science and related topics at http://www.NewAIDSreview.com which ridicules the scientists in AIDS and their unfounded nonsense since April, and I find the most discouraging thing is this very tendency of sharp witted people such as yourself to defend the conventional wisdom too quickly.

This seems odd to me, even though I know that part of it is a faith in good established science and medicine. I would have thought that it was at least obvious that honesty and truth would tend to be on the side of the questioners of a paradigm who persevere with such a vast weight of reflex scorn directed against them and who are made to suffer so for their different opinion. Certainly all the money and power flows to those who support HIV=AIDS, and none that I know of goes to those who point out it has been rejected by science. No one has made any money questioning HIV/AIDS, to my knowledge. Countless people have made their careers going along with it.

Comment by: Truthseeker at October 7, 2005 01:40 PM

(cont. – had to divide into two to avoid software glitch on this site)

I am sad to say that I think this is what accounts for the lack of curiosity on the part of editors and journalists in this matter. I hope that Nick Gillespie’s natural skepticism follows up on this thread, rather than fades away under the distasteful influence of the shouts of “I am cancelling my subscription” (no truthseekers there!). If there is any arena where reason and skepticism of government influence should be applied, it is this.

Reporters in medicine and science know what side their bread is buttered. You don’t get Pulitzers for showing that HIV=AIDS is science derailed, in fact, you are lucky if you get a review of any kind. Look at Bialy’s bombshell of a book, which is languishing ignored even though it is the science book of the year for truthseekers in science. For $20 you can find out precisely what is going on offstage in science, if you can survive the very expert scientific discussion to enjoy the political stories.

But maybe the underresearched journalists and reporters who don’t take the lid of HIV/AIDS science are just dumb. After all, there is nothing more ignorant and foolish than the Los Angeles Time’s coverage which Nick Gillespie pointed to at the top of this thread. Ear infection is a most common ailment of small children and it is commonly treated with amoxicillin, and in “rare” cases (five per cent or more) as the American Academy of Pediatricians says as quietly as it can, there is a strong and sometimes fatal reaction.

Obviously if the facts out to date are correct poor Eliza Jane was killed by just such a reaction, and nothing to do with HIV-AIDS, which even according to the conventional wisdom doesn’t kill overnight. Any kind of pneumonia is ruled out immediately by the facts they reported. Can’t they or their editors see that? To report the stupidity of the coroner without some balancing comment by pediatricians who know their stuff is unprofessional, as is the whole tilt of their article against a skeptic of mainstream medicine.

They are professionally incompetent if they don’t know that the whole episode smacks of the habit of the medical professionals we trust helping the drug companies cover up adverse reactions to drugs. But that is the power of the HIV/AIDS superstition. Even worldly and seasoned LA Times staff are beguiled into a kind of social religion.

Why don’t you demand that the reporters question the conclusions of the coroner and the doctors who comment as much as they do Maggiore, who is after the mother, closest to the symptoms of her child and who is infinitely concerned about her life?

It is not as if establishment medicine has any right to claim infallibility. The evidence-based medicine research of the past fifteen years, which has steadily checked standard beliefs of ordinary physicians against actual research, has found all too many myths at work.

This movement (evidence-based medicine) is establishment medicine checking itself and finding mistakes to correct, just as establishment science has to do, as part of its progress. To treat any biological or medical belief as sacrosanct and Biblical is spitting into the wind of progress.

The whole point is this. The case of HIV/AIDS is a case of the establishment trying to correct itself, not one of ignorant New Agey critics saying the medical establishment is always wrong. If you want to support the best of established science, then you should support the reviewers effort to assert the best literature and its conclusions, not support those who have hijacked science and driven it over a cliff.

Comment by: Truthseeker at October 7, 2005 01:44 PM

I know it’s a waste of time getting into a pissing contest with someone who has never met me or my family, but claims to know everything about us, but I have a few minutes between denialist meetings and feel the need to address Hanna who is obviously an angry, misinformed person:

Hanna, there’s a difference between rigorous evaluation of information and blind obstinacy. You can’t know that all people who question AIDS science are blindly obstinate. That sounds like stereotyping and doesn’t cast you in a very intelligent light.

The only way to properly evaluate Alison Gertz’s situation is to go to the medical literature where her case has been published, if indeed it has. Surely you realize that the very reason for the existence of the scientific and medical literature is so that people like you can’t run around treating anecdotal information as peer reviewed fact.

All I can say at this time about Eliza Jane’s diagnosis of PCP is that it’s undergoing evaluation and appears inconsistent with what we her parents, her three pediatricians, the ER doctors, the X-rays taken, and the initial examination of my daughter’s lungs in an autopsy would support. To say more before an independent evaluation is completed, would be speculative and premature.

Regarding your speculation about our antibiotic use, please note that like many thinking people around the world, antibiotics simply aren’t our first choice of treatment. I haven’t had one since I was a kid, and the same is true for Christine. Our son took one for a tooth infection a couple of years ago, not because he was dying as you so foolishly assume was the case with our daughter, but because it hurt like hell. It wasn’t death that compelled us to utilize that treatment, but pain, and the recommendation of a trusted dentist.

You also spout off that my wife has endlessly repeated that HIV doesn’t exist. If she’s done so ad naseam as you point out, then please direct me and the readers of this blog to any reference where she has done so. Since nearly everything she has said is publicly archived, surely you should be able to provide this proof. If not, than I propose that it is you that is full of the bullshit that you’ve attributed to her.

Lastly in response to your potty-mouthed name calling, Hanna, I offer this: if your convictions about us are so strong that you would open yourself up to slandering someone whom I assume you’ve never met, then I invite you to come and say it to our face instead of hiding on some blog. I’ll guarantee you the same verbal thrashing that you’ve recieved here, but in person it won’t be nearly as pleasant for you.

Until we all see your references to Christine’s alleged claims, I bid you good afternoon.

Sincerely,

Comment by: Robin Scovill at October 7, 2005 02:40 PM

Let’s be clear on Christine Maggiore. She has been staunchly against western medicine, antibiotics, vaccines and passionately committed to whole, organic foods and natural remedies. Nothing she’s ever stated in a public format would dispute that notion. In fact, Maggiore’s hateful attitude towards antibiotics is so extreme that it would not be an overstatement to note that Amoxicillan, HIV antivirals and cyanide are all equal in her mind. Maggiore underwent two deliveries in her home with a midwife in the most organic setting possible. She has chosen 3 physicians for her children who are of the same naturopathic mindset as she (against antibiotic use, HIV antivirals and vaccines and/or unconvinced of the HIV=AIDS science). In fact, when Christine Maggiore was told she had an abnormal Pap test result (Grade 3) for cervical cancer, she declined her OB/GYN’s advice of a colposcopy and, instead, chose “colon hydrotherapy, digestive enzymes, daily juicing, food combining, some new supplements, and regular exercise” (from Maggiore’s article – “My Bout with So-Called AIDS”).

And despite the massive public and scientific pressure against every single HIV tidbit that comes out of her mouth, she has remained firm in her resolve. Irrefutably, Maggiore is a very strong individual who is unyielding.

Does the woman who chose “naturopathic” remedies for potential cervical cancer sound like someone who would “panic” over her child’s runny nose and an ear infection and treat her with Amoxicillan (i.e., poison to her)? Process that for a moment and how utterly ridiculous that notion is!

A mere modicum of common sense illustrates a very sinister picture of what really happened to Eliza Jane at the hands of an arrogant, neglectful parent. Did Maggiore “panic?” Yes, she probably did. But not over a runny nose and an ear infection (that wouldn’t “panic” someone who’d faced a cervical cancer prediction with “daily juicing”). Christine Maggiore panicked because Eliza Jane was clearly in great distress and dying. Only then did Maggiore relent and try the “evil” antibiotics, hoping that would help her. Well, oral Amoxicillan isn’t the course of treatment for PCP – rather it’s IV Bactrim. (Note: it’s always curious how many denialists resort to the “evil” HIV antivirals when their condition becomes so dire and foreseeable death undeniable – it’s often then too late).

But like I said earlier, Maggiore is so obstinately committed to her position that HIV doesn’t exist and, if it does, it’s harmless (she vacillates between the two fantasies) that she is incapable of considering – even for a moment – that her inadequacy as a scientific intellectual, a pragmatic woman and a functional parent caused the senseless death of an innocent child. My heart goes out very sincerely to Eliza Jane – who deserved a mother more committed to her well being than to her ridiculous and ill-equipped ideas about science and medicine.

By the way, as I predicted, no one’s bothered yet to offer a case study of ANYONE under the age of 50 on the planet who is HIV negative, not taking immunosuppressive drugs or diagnosed with cancer who has EVER developed PCP, PML, CMV Retinitis.

PS: “Moonchild” you sound an awful lot like Kim Bannon (or you “borrow” much of her language). As for the “trust me” nonsense about a child being far more likely to die of the “drugs” than any phantom disease (I’m assuming you mean an AIDS-related disease), do you have any science to back that up in the realm of a peer-reviewed study or is that just some more UFO conspiracy nonsense you’re expecting complete strangers to “trust” you about?

Comment by: Hanna at October 7, 2005 03:18 PM

Mr. Scovill (if that’s indeed you), my last post was entered prior to having read yours.

I’m sure you must realize that there isn’t a widely-held scientific fact that some infinitesimally small group of scientists don’t dispute based on strawman arguments and absurd claims (e.g., evolution vs. intelligent design comes to mind).

I chose to believe that 99.8% of the scientific and medical experts hold more credibility than the few on the fringe. (by the way Mr. Scovill, since you’re so “well versed” on scientific facts, care to take me up on the challenge of finding a PCP, PML, CMV Retinitis case in an individual as noted in the above post?)

Ultimately Mr. Scovill, science is always open to the outcome – whatever it is, and science is no worse for the wear. Christine Maggiore is open ONLY to any outcome in which HIV does not equal AIDS. That’s not science and that caused the death of your only daughter. But worse still is that it continues to perpetuate the blind denial by which your family proceeds.

I suppose if one’s ignorance and flagrant arrogance caused the death of their child, denial is the only thing to hang on to.

PS: Poster “Katy” claims to know your family and states that Eliza Jane was not even remotely healthy for some time.

Comment by: Hanna at October 7, 2005 03:43 PM

Anyone interested can go here:

http://www.aras.ab.ca/thelist.htm

and find out for themselves exactly who, and how many denialists there currently are, and what exactly it is that we are denying.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 7, 2005 04:03 PM

The following letter documents Christine Maggiore’s recent ordeal with the censors at the LA Times. It was sent to myself and Dean Esmay. As a member of the media, I am appalled by the LA Times, and grateful for the liberties of the Internet, which we all must take care not to abuse, by writing things that are not true, not accurate, not fair, and or not human. There has been alot of that here on this thread.

–Celia Farber

CHRISTINE MAGGIORE’S NEW LETTER TO THE LA TIMES:

Since your post of my unpublished letter to the Los Angeles Times, a number

of people have contacted me with requests for replies to questions or to

charges leveled by detractors. As much as I would love to respond, I am

under strict advisement from my attorney to wait for the completion of the

independent review of my daughter’s autopsy report before speaking

publically on the topic of her tragic death.

In the meantime, I thought you might be interested to know something of my

on-going negotiations with the LA Times over my 150 word letter to the

editor.

The Times declined to publish the short letter posted earlier this week for

a variety of seemingly ever-changing reasons. First, they wanted me to

strike the opening sentence which states “medical records show my daughter

did not exhibit symptoms consistent with pneumonia.” Even though none of the

doctors wrote of any suspicion of pneumonia in her charts, and the Times’

article mentions her breathing measured normal on an oxygen test, the Times

says that her cough and runny nose are included among the symptoms of

pneumonia, therefore I cannot write she did not exhibit symptoms of

pneumonia.

Instead of arguing that a cough and runny nose are also symptoms of anything

from a cold to allergies–and as common among three year-olds as scuffed

shoes and temper tantrums–I accepted their ruling and changed my sentence

to read that she did not exhibit symptoms consistent with “advanced

pnemonia.” No go said the Times. So I tried “life-threatening pneumonia.” No

way. They claim that this statement still contradicts her medical records,

records which the Times does not, or at least according to privacy laws,

should not have in its possession (not that there’s anything to hide). So I

changed the sentence again to read, “She did not present with the chest pain

or blue lips and nail beds indicative of life-threatening pneumonia…,” and

am waiting to hear if this will be allowed.

Following this semantic wrestling match, we engaged in debate over the

standard definition vs the LA Times definition of a fact. Qualifying what

counts as fact is important since (suddenly) according to one of the

reporters, “the Letters to the Editor page is for facts, not opinions.”

Although that rule didn’t seem to apply to Nora Castillo of Whittier

California whose rather harsh opinions about me were published last week, I

agreed. Let’s all stick to the facts. But then I learn that, in the case of

my letter anyway, a fact is only a fact if: 1) it is in concordance with

what the Times’ reporters have in their notes; 2) appears in the autopsy

report (which includes only select citations from my daughter’s medical

records; or 3) refers to an event that occurred in the presence of LA Times

reporters or a third party witness. Given these three

letters-to-the-editor-laws, I was told I must delete my reference to what ER

doctors said about seeing nothing in my daughter’s chest X-rays to explain

her dire condition.

I can’t say their three-point qualification rule feels particularly fair or

reasonable (was I supposed to call the LA Times before I dialed 911?), but

since we happen to have a third party witness to our ER experience, OK, let

the Times’ ruling stand. I then explained how a neighbor followed us to the

hospital that night, how he was there when the attending physician at the ER

told us Eliza Jane was dying and that none of the many tests and X-rays

revealed why. And just in case that’s not enough, I also have the hospital

report which states that after all the tests and X-rays, there was no

apparent cause of death. Hopefully given these facts, they’ll allow my

sentence about the ER to stand.

We then moved on to a truly perplexing discussion: according to the LA

Times, the coroner’s office has a policy that prohibits disclosure of

autopsy information by telephone. This means that my letter can’t mention

how the medical examiner, Dr Changstri, called our home the week of May 23

and spoke with my husband. But if it’s true the coroner’s office doesn’t

disclose autopsy information by phone, (and in our grief and devastation we

somehow imagined this conversation), how did the LA Times learn of the

findings in my daughter’s autopsy report before it was finished being

transcribed and printed? And what about the call to our home from the

coroner’s office on the morning of September 13 in which they disclosed by

phone the alleged cause of her death? We’re we dreaming?

Since it seems that any letter from me is unlikely to be approved for

publication by the LA Times, please feel free to share the newly revised

letter below along with my correspondence with the paper’s Readers’ Rep that

follows.

With thanks for your interest in another side of the story,

Christine Maggiore

===

Revised letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Times

In response to your article “A Mother’s Denial,” medical records from three

separate pediatricians state my daughter had clear lungs. She did not

present with the chest pain or blue lips and nail beds indicative of

life-threatening pneumonia at any doctor visit. Records from her last

medical exam on May 14 show Eliza Jane had no cough or respiratory

congestion. A series of chest Xrays taken in the ER did not reveal why she

was dying. After careful examination of her lungs during a May 18 autopsy,

the coroner could not determine a cause of death.

One month and no determined cause later, the coroner’s office called her

primary pediatrician, Dr Paul Fleiss, demanding to know if he knew about my

book and HIV status. Even after discovering my testing history and

controversial work, it took 12 more weeks for the coroner to decide my

daughter died of AIDs-related pneumonia.

We have questions and concerns about the coroner’s findings and hope to

clarify these via an independent investigation due in three weeks.

Interested readers may follow the unfolding story at www.ejlovetour.com

Christine Maggiore

===

My end of recent correspondence with LA Times Readers’ Rep Jamie Gold

(surely one of the most patient individuals on earth):

Hi Jamie,

Below please find a new revision of my letter. I’ve used a few more words to

clarify the statements about my daughter’s medical records and our

experiences at the ER. To make up for this, I’ve cut out other sentences.

With regard to our conversation yesterday about the content of my daughter’s

medical records, could you please let me know if the Times actually has

copies of these records? From my understanding, her records are not public

information and the Times reporters cite from the autopsy report and

interviews with her pediatricians. I think it’s important to note that the

coroner’s office does not have my daughter’s complete medical records. They

never requested records from her last two doctor visits, and as such, this

information is not included the autopsy report.

With regard to the Time’s requirement of third party witnesses to events not

attended by reporters, as I mentioned during our phone conversation

yesterday, a neighbor who followed us to the ER can substantiate the

experiences referred to in my letter. This man stayed there with me and my

husband for several hours, including the awful moment when the attending

physician at the ER apologetically stated they could not determine from

x-rays, a spinal tap, CAT scans or other tests why our daughter was dying.

That and the following statement from the hospital report may be enough to

settle our disagreement on whether the ER found no cause of death after

examining a series of chest Xrays. The attending physician wrote: “I feel

that [there] may be [a] rather high likelihood that the patient may have

Haemophilus Influenza. Nevertheless, it is just speculation on my part at

this point and the case will need to be referred to the coroner’s office to

help determine the cause of death.”

If you will provide me with a fax number, I will send you my daughter’s

medical records from the pediatrician visits mentioned in the autopsy report

along with the summary statement of the attending physician at the ER.

I would also appreciate knowing if either reporter disputing my account of

events at the hospital ever interviewed the ER doctor before going to press.

The timing of any interview concerns me as I doubt it would be possible to

get an unbiased account of what happened that night with our story having

been told from one perspective on the front page of the Times.

Regarding the Time’s claim that the coroner’s office does not disclose

information by telephone, as I reiterated yesterday, Dr Changstri very

kindly called my husband the week of our daughter’s memorial in reply to his

request for an update and explained that they still had not determined a

cause of death for Eliza Jane. She also outlined what steps they were taking

to investigate further. Her remarks about investigating poisions and

chemical toxins as a potential cause was so disturbing to me, I immediately

phoned a friend who works in law enforcement and told him what Dr Changstri

said. He is available to verify our conversation about Dr Changstri’s

remarks if needed to substantiate the sentence summarizing this event.

Again with regard to the assertion the coroner’s office does not share

information by phone, Denise Bertone called our home on the morning of

Tuesday September 13 and disclosed the coroner’s determination of death to

my husband. When I got the news from my devastated husband, I phoned our

lawyer and reported what Denise had told us. I’m sure our attorney recalls

this conversation.

Jamie, if the Times still wishes to disregard our experiences at the ER

after considering the above mentioned information, will you please let me

know as soon as possible? I’d also appreciate knowing if the Times still

stands by the claim that the coroner’s policy is no disclosure by phone. If

so, can you help me understand how your reporters managed to write an

article that included the coroner’s determination of death before my

daughter’s autopsy report was finished? As I recall, Dan Costello contacted

me for comment on his completed article Thursday September 15. Following his

call, I phoned my attorney who spoke with him that same day. The autopsy

report was not ready until Friday September 16; Denise Bertone called to

confirm it was finally available as of that Friday morning. When I asked Dan

if he had a copy of the autopsy report during our first contact, he said he

did not, and stated the same again the week of September 19.

With heartfelt thanks for your patience and help (and kindness under

duress),

Christine Maggiore

_________________________________________________________________

Don’t just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search!

http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 7, 2005 05:30 PM

Given the way information (as they call it) passes almost instanteously in these hyper-modern times, Peter and I exchanged a few short emails upon receiving copies of the letter posted above.

Their gist was that Christine’s negotiations with the LA Times are even more frustrating than our own with Sir John Maddox in 1995, when he was the anything but retiring, about to retire editor of Nature.

This v. hardcore exchange, as published in a special supplement to the world’s oldest journal of genetics, Genetica, can be found here:

http://duesberg.com/papers/ch12.html

and a more entertaining account can as well be found in my biogrpahy of Prof. Duesberg.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 7, 2005 05:38 PM

My condolonces to Robin and Christine.

I’ve been HIV+ for more than 15 years. 7 years ago I suffered a nervous breakdown. Orthodox HIV science was making me sick. And so I searched for alternatives. Duesberg, Mullis and Christines ideas are simply a great deal more convincing.

We do not know whether or not HIV causes AIDS.

HIV was never isolated.

HIV tests only test for anti-bodies not the virus.

Most other patients I remember from the Kobler centre in London who were on Mono- or combo-therapy became ill or died.

How can we not question medical sciences when we are asked to give AZT to HIV+ mothers? AZT has been around for some time and developed against cancer, yet it not only killed cancer but the patient as well. Now we use it to fight a virus that we do not even know is the cause of AIDS.

Keep asking questions and inform yourself well, especially with regards to HIV and AIDS. That is all I ask of you who read this. Ask your doctor to tell which study demonstrates that HIV has been isolated or that AIDS is actually caused by HIV. You will find that no such study exists.

We do not know what causes AIDS. How on earth can we then tell people to take toxic drugs?

If we want to eradicate AIDS, then we must stop spending enormous amounts of money on a virus that may or may not be the cause of AIDS. Instead we must combat poverty in the third world and provide proper drug-education to our children. Then we have a chance of eradicating AIDS.

Comment by: 15-years-with-HIV-and-perfectly-well at October 7, 2005 05:47 PM

Perdon. I already have admitted to poor typing, but failing to see ‘instantaneously’ had undergone deletion, and ‘biography’ had mutated to ‘biogrpahy’ are unforgiveable.

I assure you, however, that “Oncogenes Aneuploidy and AIDS” is 99.5% typo-free and completely accurate as to everything it presents as ‘fact’.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 7, 2005 05:49 PM

TO.: Hannah

Dear Hannah,

reading your reply only demonstrates your ignorant attitude and your obvious inability to ask very simple questions. Such as WHERE IS THE PROOF?

To me it is not important whether HIV is a harmless retrovirus as stated by Peter Duesberg or if HIV does not exist. Fact is, that we do not know whether or not HIV is the cause of AIDS.

I do not deny the existence of AIDS. But based on my own experiences as a HIV+ patient and after careful consideration of all available information, I have come to the conclusion that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS.

Who are you to force mothers who test HIV+ to take AZT, knowing that AZT is so toxic that when it was invented as a tool in the battle against cancer, it was quickly banned because it not only kills cancer, but the patient as well?

I am not dodging any bullet, other than the ones fired upon me from so called HIV-doctors and scientists.

Here is a little anecdote:

Last year I developed an abscess on my right hip due to a mosquito bite. When I presented this to the doctor at the K&C hospital in London, I revealed my status.

Instead of simply prescribing some anti-biotics and a painkiller and then open the abscess with an incision to drain it, he called the HIV-doctor on duty from the Kobler centre.

She wanted me to stay overnight, doubled the dose of antibiotics and ran every possible blood-test she could get her fingers on. I hadn’t been ill or at the K&C hospital for a long time and definitely did not want to stay overnight. Especially since I had to travel to Berlin the next day to give a couple of lectures.

So I left London the next day, pumped full of antibiotics.

The abscess though became more painful, and upon arrival in Berlin I went to see the doctors at the Urbanstrasse Krankenhaus.

This time I did not reveal my status. The doctors in Berlin looked at the antibiotics prescribed to me by the HIV-doctor in London and started laughing. They kept me in hospital straight away, by now the abscess needed to be operated urgently.

The Berlin doctor told me that he did not understand why that abscess had not been operated in London just the evening before. He thought his London collegues were clearly incompotent.

What does that tell you about HIV-doctors? What does that tell you about HIV? Which treatment was obviously the better one? Which did cure me? The one recommended by the HIV-doctor? Or the one administered by doctors who were unaware of my status?

I am as healthy as one can be and a proud father of a 2 year old boy. And there are many more like me. And we all have a few things in common: we stay away from HIV-science and do not take ARV-medication, live a normal and healthy life.

During all this time the worst thing was never this so-called virus. It was the AIDS establishment and the multi-billion dollar industry that needs HIV to be the cause of AIDS to justify its useless existence.

And obviously you are part of that. Well, good luck to you Hannah. With such a great deal of blind ignorance you will need it some day.

Comment by: 15-years-with-HIV-and-well at October 7, 2005 06:39 PM

I was told I was HIV positive with about three years to live 15 years ago. 12 years ago I did get an AIDS diagnoses but after getting clean and sober 8 years ago my only trouble has been the AIDS drugs.

with Severe digestion problems, muscle loss, chronic fatigue to name a few. After weaning myself off the drugs 18 months ago all symptoms have disappeared a miracle!!

Because everything that was wrong with me was blamed on HIV/AIDS and not the DNA chain terminators I was told I was HIV positive with about three years to live 15 years ago. 12 years ago I did get an AIDS diagnoses but after getting clean and sober 8 years ago my only trouble has been the AIDS drugs.

with Severe digestion problems, muscle loss, chronic fatigue to name a few. After weaning myself off the drugs 18 months ago all symptoms have disappeared a miracle!!

Because everything that was wrong with me was blamed on HIV/AIDS and not the DNA chain terminators The topper is that when I get a cold or anything else which is very seldom I FEEL it, not just the cough or sniffles but I feel IT. I cannot believe AIDS research when they say I have millions of virus infected cells eating away at me as I type this because if it was true I would FEEL it. I feel great and at 39 years old I look it too.

OH and 12 years ago my wife was told she was dying of AIDS with three (yep you read that right) T-Cells. No risk group had sex with 2 high school b/f’s and her husband at the time no drugs but still got AIDS frigging laughable, she must have got it from a dirty toilet seat yep that?s got to be it.

Today she is alive and well and gave birth to our perfect baby girl 6 months ago. You all can take your AIDS and shove it firmly where the sun never shines.

Comment by: Fondoo at October 7, 2005 08:40 PM

Posted from Gary Null’s Website:

Testimonies About Small Children and HIV

“In October 1990, we adopted a little girl born in Romania when she was just a few days old. When we brought her to America two months later, Lilly was a happy, healthy baby We took her for a complete medical exam that included an HIV test. The result was positive, and although she had no symptom of illness, she was immediately put on AZT syrup and Septra, a powerful antibiotic. We investigated and discovered that her birth mother tested HIV negative. This information seemed not to matter, we were told Lilly had the ‘AIDS virus.’ For close to a year, we gave her AZT and other drugs, until by the grace of God, we determined that the drugs were making her very ill.

“During her first 18 months on the drugs, Lilly’s health declined. She was hyperactive, almost as though she didn’t feel comfortable in her body She didn’t eat properly and suffered nausea and diarrhea and fell behind in growth rate. Doctors attributed her problems to HIV and increased the dosage. A few months later, her doctor began pressuring us to add ddl to our daughter’s drug regimen. She praised Lilly’s progress at each visit even though by then Lilly had completely stopped growing and her T cells were dropping. Then for three months in 1992, Lilly woke up in the middle of the night grabbing her knees and screaming in pain. We took her to the University of Minnesota after the screaming bouts started. The doctor barely acknowledged what we were saying and left us with the impression ‘Well what do you expect? This kid is dying of AIDS.’

“In desperation, we turned to Dr. Peter Duesberg, a source we had previously discounted. We had read a couple articles about Duesberg but never gave his views serious consideration; now we wrote to him at UC Berkeley asking for advice. He responded promptly with a package of literature and we started researching for ourselves.

“Almost immediately we understood our daughter’s problem was not an immune deficiency, but the side‑effects of drugs. We took her off them and have not looked back since. Two days after we stopped the AZT, her leg cramps stopped. She started sleeping much better and began eating two to three times as much as she had ever eaten before. We found a doctor who uses a holistic approach to disease that puts a big emphasis on nutrition. After two months of nutritional therapy, she started gaining weight. By 2 7 months of age, she was back in the I Oth percentile of growth.

“When we tried to discuss our decision to stop AZT with the MD at the university and put Lilly’s real progress in perspective, we were verbally attacked and treated as if we were children. We didn’t tell the doctor that Lilly was off the drugs that day Instead, we sent a letter. Her response was to threaten to have Lilly removed from our home. She said that taking her off AZT would hasten her decline and death, and that there are foster homes for children whose parents don’t go along with the medical community

“Seven years later, Lilly is a perfectly healthy little girl. She does well in school, has lots of friends, enjoys riding her bike and is an avid swimmer.”

Scott and Cathy Norton, Minneapotis, Minnesota

Comment by: Leo at October 8, 2005 12:15 AM

Having our little baby at the hospital we have a very spooky HIV story as well. She tested NEGATIVE and they still wanted to pump her with bacterium in case she had undiagnosable AIDS. Also they use the PCR test to test babies and like to give Vaccines at the same time, ya call me koo koo but PCR has the highest rates of cross reactions and you want to do vaccines at the same time F*** YOU.

We were told after 2 negative tests (I declined the vaccines) that they would not count the negative result until the 18 month mark. Well after “I” had done some research I declined the “THIRD” test by stating that we were moving and will let our new Doc test her next month.

Hey guess what? The social worker AND doctor demanded we come in before we move or they were going to report us as endangering our daughter.

I was lucky to have a close friend that is a MD and he got her case removed from those F***ING GHOULS. I feel like a dad that saved his baby just in time from an oncoming train.

Our little girl his six months old and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen

Comment by: Fondoo at October 8, 2005 01:40 AM

To “Robin Scovill” who wrote earlier to poster Hannah:

“You also spout off that my wife has endlessly repeated that HIV doesn?t exist. If she?s done so ad naseam as you point out, then please direct me and the readers of this blog to any reference where she has done so…..If not, than [SIC] I propose that it is you that is full of the bullshit that you?ve attributed to her”

Please refer to the following (Maggiore’s own website).

-www.aliveandwell.org

-FAQ

-A Closer Look at HIV

-Does HIV Exist?

In the final paragraph Maggiore announces agreement with the referenced pathologist who writes that he doesn’t believe that HIV exists.

“Robin,” I sure do hope you take some time to understand your wife’s positions in the future. Alas, the “bullshit” appears to remain in your camp.

By the way “Robin,” your wife has also been quoted saying your lawyer’s gagged you both until the investigation is complete (perhaps you don’t know this either; do you guys talk?). I’m utterly perplexed why you continually pay for expert advice (medical, legal) that you just ignore anyway. I don’t get that.

This is what the National Institutes of Health provides as evidence of HIV=AIDS, with numerous cited studies. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm

As the mother of four healthy children who have NEVER experienced an AIDS defining illness, I’m in a state of incredulity to understand how a parent can stand next to their dying child in a hospital room and withhold information that could save the child’s life.

Christine Maggiore is largely responsible for the death of her daughter (her doctors and husband bare some fault as well). She refused temporary medication that could have eliminated any cogent risk of HIV transmission during delivery, she breastfed her daughter knowing the risks of HIV transmission and she then ignored her terminally ill child, even when the doctors sought desperately to find what was wrong with her. It was a sick game and her daughter paid the ultimate price. I hope she will be just as resolute when she’s faced with an AIDS related illness and not submit to the fear and take the western drugs. The death of a flagrantly abusive mother is never a tragedy for this planet.

Christine Maggiore is a narcissistic sociopath(even crazed David Pasquerelli caved in and took the prescribed medication when he developed illnesses that none of his HIV negative cohorts had ever faced).

Thankfully she’s reached an age where producing another child is impossible. Things could have been worse. This murderer could have given birth to many more children and been at a loss to explain why such a large percentage of them dropped like flies. Rather, she’d say it was air pollution, stress caused by toxic television, the school’s juice boxes. Denial is so ugly!

To Robin and Christine: I am rather confident that the LA Police Department and the prosecutors office will find that you’re both culpable in the death of your child by willful neglect. No one has a right to harm their child because they decide they know more than hundreds of thousands of scientists and physicians with volumes of studies and clinical experience as evidence.

Your child is six feet under. Happy now?

Comment by: Heather Knolls Morgan at October 8, 2005 11:24 AM

Well, Ms. Heather Knolls Morgan, that was about the most vicious piece of vitriol I have ever read. Have you read any of the testimonies by people who’ve taken the drugs nad been forced to give them to their children? These stories are readily available, some even right here.

You believe the orthodox “scientists” just know everything and have everyone’s best interests at heart? Do the research, as we have. Realize that the HIV/AIDS paradigm is built on very unstable soil, and now they’re afraid to go back and even look at it because billions depend on its being right. Christine Maggiore no more had a transmissble disease to pass on to her children than you did, and this is obviously a hatchet job because no one even entertained such a cause of death until Christine’s supposed status was known.

You have four healthy children, huh? With a mother like you, I fear for their mental and emotional health in the future.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 8, 2005 11:57 AM

With apologies to Mark Twain…..

first, God created idiots. But that was just for practice. Then he created AIDS activists. Finally, in utter despair he created deranged anti-science lunatics like Heather Knolls Morgan (not her real name).

Knolls Morgan epitomizes the harsh doctinaire dogma of someone who has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. Her caustic, self-righteous pieties are those found widely amongst AIDS Fundamentalists and Linda Steiner has effectively exposed Knolls Morgan’s all-consuming bile that will surely, eventually be the cause of her own demise.

It can’t happen soon enough.

Comment by: Sheikh Somali at October 8, 2005 12:44 PM

Funny thing about having an HIV+ test for 15 years is that your more interested than the average Joe that seems to think the six oh clock news is a good source for information.

I used to think the same way about established views because “How could the majority of scientists be wrong”

That all changed when my HIV+ wife had our baby. I didn’t question doctors before that time. But they started to recommend/demand things that defied common sense.

It did not help when I realized they base there protocols on studies that 80% of the moms studied are IV drug addicts. How the hell does that relate to my goody too shoo wife that never used drugs (besides grass in high school) had 2 b/f’s (used condoms) and 1 husband (no condoms guy is hiv- to this day) Dirty toilet seat AIDS case I guess.

Anyway I realized that the Docs protocols make practicing medicine possible but are not necessarily the best for each individual patient and the Doc does not have the time to do his homework like I do on the reasoning behind a given protocol. A good doc will listen to my reasoning and verify or advise against my opinion. A poor Doc will get high and mighty and dismiss my views out of hand.

My rights as a father to decide the wisdom of very toxic drugs would evaporate if my daughter received a positive test even when the doctors admit there is a high chance of a false positive. They have decreed that the chance of HIV ravaging her body is to great to risk not hitting it hard and early. They recommend DNA chain terminators for babies and there proof of effectiveness is based on studies of IV drug using moms.

A baby can be exposed to these cancer chemo drugs er “life saving AIDS drugs” for as long as 18 months before they will accept that the baby was a false positive. Does anyone realize the severe effects of giving Chemotherapy to babies? The doctors don’t, and its well documented that they lack phase three trials in this field. Think chemo babies chemo babies duh.

Do I need to be an MD to know that this is a very severe class of drugs only to be used when the most dire health risk is “PROVEN” in my babies body? Should the fact that the studies are based on 80% IV drug using moms who’s babies are born with health problems without the need of a virus?

I have read the papers of dissident Nobel prize winning scientists, I have followed there advice and took note what is missing in the mountains of mainstream data and what even today they refuse to study.

One thing about the AIDS dissident I am finding we have in common is that we are well read on both sides and most of the hostile mainstream defenders are not even well read on there own side.

Comment by: Fondoo at October 8, 2005 02:51 PM

Dear Hanna,

I just found out you were posting here, besides sending the trashy notes to my personal email address. FYI, Moonchild and I are not the same person; and there are more women besides Christine and I who have tested HIV-positive and doubt their diagnosis. Most of them like to remain anonymous to avoid dealing with nasty people like you.

Peace,

Kim Marie Bannon

Comment by: kimmarie101 at October 8, 2005 04:38 PM

Fondoo,

I agree completely. In fact, I almost believe that to have a valid opinion on this subject (unless you are a scientist involved in it or a journalist who has researched it) you have to have, as they say, “a dog in this fight.” By which I mean it has to have personally touched your life.

My diagnosis is only a bit over 4 years old. Being a middle-aged female who never did drugs,the “logical” assumption was I contracted the “virus” through heterosexual contact.

And I was not merely testing positive–I was presenting with our old friend PCP. So with the wonderful circular definitions, I had AIDS. Now, considering I had been in a monogamous relationship (with someone who repeatedly tested negative) for about 6 years, I would have to have contracted this some time before that. I will admit to possibly having been foolish more than a few times, but have been able to find no one in my past who tested positive.

So, orthodox believers, what gives? Do you want to know what I now think? I’ll tell you anyway. I had a few nasty bouts with bad colds or flu (which can make you test positive) and got progressively worse over as much as five months. My appetite pretty much disappeared. I dragged myself around, getting less and less able to breathe until I had to ask a friend to take me to the emergency room.

Was I really sick? Oh, yeah? Was I immunosuppressed? Without a doubt. I had PCP, if indeed that was what it was, and thrush. Classic case, I guess. Well, they put me on all the standards–Bactrim and prednisone, and about 5 days into my hospital stay I regained my appetite, and we have not been parted since.

My biggest regret is accepting all they told me. I was in too debilitated a state to question at the time. So I got on a recently concluded clinical trial and was lucky to suffer no serious side effects, which doesn’t mean there was no damage done.

At about the time I developed a mysterious rash and felt my body was saying “enough!” to the drugs, I happened upon virusmyth.com. I visited it skeptically, but found well-reasoned arguments and explanations for all of my “Yeah, but what about…” questions.

I have been totally converted and I am angry. Angry that I was never told that there might be other explanations. Angry at how this will probably always affect my life. But I also feel empowered that nowmy life is my own again and so is my health care. The choices are mine and I will never again blindly accept what I am told. I will do research and make upmy own mind.

So there’s antoher testimony. Make what you will of it. I am healthy and happy off the drugs.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 8, 2005 04:51 PM

I posted first as moonchild. I am Linda Steiner. I have nothing to hide and that is my real name. What’s yours, Hanna?

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 8, 2005 04:54 PM

Heather somewhere above writea

This is what the National Institutes of Health provides as evidence of HIV=AIDS, with numerous cited studies. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm

And for anybody who really is serious about this matter, this :

http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/NIHONAID.PDF

is what the same NIH said was so about AIDS and HIV 10 years ago.

Comparing the two is highly instructive.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 8, 2005 05:00 PM

Linda,

Thank you for identifying yourself. I knew who you were but wanted you to be the one to identify yourself here. Hanna should know by the personal exchange we had that I wouldn’t take the time to send the well-reasoned message you posted. I thought s/he had gone away until I saw the messages here.

I agree that when this subject personally touches one’s life, a thorough investigation of the scientific literature is the only way to learn the truth. Unfortunately for too many of us it’s too late as we have already been labeled by the fraudulent testing, forcing us to live a stigmatized life.

Anyone who wants to short-cut their study can just look into how lousy all the HIV tests in current use are to understand there is no way to actually tell if someone has HIV or not. After that, what part of the dogma is not in question!?!

Peace,

Kim

Comment by: kimmarie101 at October 8, 2005 08:10 PM

Robin. I could not bare the thought of bringing any harm to you and Christine. That is not the point here and I will always defend your choices. What is hard to handle is that as difficult as it may be, the possibility that some of your assumptions may have been wrong must be pondered for the public good. Sadly, this is a very public issue and you took on the role of being public figures. I am certainly not going to take you on or be misconstrued as having ill will toward you.

I will post no more anywhere and say no more to anyone. I’m sorry if my words were hurtful. These were thoughts and perceptions shared by a number of people who care more about your personal well being than the politics of AIDS, so remain silent. As will I.

Comment by: katy at October 8, 2005 09:36 PM

Dear Katy,

You use the word “assumptions” with the wrong people. It is the AIDS orthodoxy who make assumptions and disguise them as scientific facts with their credentials. We may not be scientist with university degrees, but we can read the medical literature. Please look into the issues in depth as have Christine, Robin and the other rethinkers such as myself before you make your own assumptions.

Peace,

Kim

Comment by: kimmarie101 at October 8, 2005 11:01 PM

To Hanna & Heather and those who agree with you:

I want you to know something. And that is, I feel your pain.

As someone who had to live with the repercussions of being told my blood was polluted with millions of copies of an immune-suppressing virus that could only be kept in check with highly toxic daily medication which would offer no promise of a cure, I feel your pain.

Because before I was able to embrace the science that had been withheld from me, I had to come to the shocking realization that I’d been lied to. In my estimation, withholding important information on which one or many would base a big decision is a form of lying – a rather widely accepted form of lying, but lying nonethless.

I believe the doctor that gave me the diagnosis believed he was acting dutifully and in my best interest, but I also believe that he had been lied to – that is, important information on which he would have based a big decision had been withheld from him – and so he passed on those lies to me.

The impact of these lies on my well-being nearly caused my suicide.

The impact of discovering the truth drove me into a rage. For in that moment I realized that I had been unwittingly victimized, tricked, duped into believing to be true something that was a lie and not the truth at all – not by a longshot. How could I have been so stupid?

I did not want to believe that I’d been lied to, that I lived in a world where I could no longer believe what I heard on the news, or read in the paper, or what my doctor told me. But after absorbing all of the withheld information, it was quite clear that my exploitation and near demise – and the more tragic fates of countless others – were ultimately for the benefit of inhumane powers. I hated knowing I lived in a world where that could even begin to take place.

And so, yes, I was in denial about that world.

But not anymore. Now I know the truth. It’s a sad, sad truth, and it hurts to know it, but I’ve decided it’s no less true for that fact.

And it’s whole, and complete, with no important information withheld. Because, in case you forgot, withholding important information on which I base a big decision would be a form of lying, albeit a widely accepted form of lying, but I refuse to do that to myself any longer.

It wasn’t easy. I feel your pain.

Comment by: Chris at October 9, 2005 02:26 AM

Wow Chris you have expressed so well my same feelings of shock and sadness when I discovered what is going on in the world.

I joke with my friends and call myself a casual Christian. I like to look for spiritual truth everywhere and follow no specific church. After my realization of the horror the powers that be are inflicting on the world I can relate to the prophets warning of “The Beast” and a worldwide government in a way I never thought possible.

Comment by: Fondoo at October 9, 2005 04:59 AM

Chris, you are way more than reasonable in writing charitably to Katy and Hanna. I admire your ability to do so.

I was very touched by your story, and you told it so eloquently. I can, of course, relate to many of your feelings, though I did not seriously consider suicide. By the time I was diagnosed the catchphrase was “It’s no longer a death sentence.” No,merely a life sentence!

What I have the hardest time believing is that all these great researchers and doctors never even considered that the orthodox views could be wrong. Obviously, some have and have come over to the side of reason, but they are still so much in the minority.

I think my major feeling on all this is one of betrayal. Assuming that at least some of the medical people I’ve come in contact with knew this information was out there, how could they in good conscience withhold it from me? Oh, right –they’re saving my life, saving me from myself and the foolish decisions I might make on my own. I was even condescendingly asked if I’d been on the internet! Hell, yeah!

It will be a long, hard-fought battle, but I can only believe that in the end, the truth will out. The death of poor little Eliza Jane may be the catalyst. We owe her a lot.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 9, 2005 10:40 AM

So Eliza Jane died because of…

Oooh, we may never know. One thing we know for sure: it was NOT anything related to HIV. Anyone with an open mind would have to realize that.

Comment by: Barbar at October 10, 2005 12:29 PM

So Eliza Jane died because of…

Oooh, we may never know. One thing we know for sure: it was NOT anything related to HIV. Anyone with an open mind would have to realize that.

Comment by: Barbar at October 10, 2005 12:31 PM

Since HIV is not transmissible, it could be that Robert Gallo had someone inject HIV antibodies into Eliza and then with some kind of agent that would make it look like she had PCP to the coroner and the lab. That might be what has happened in all mother to child transmissions. The NIH and the CDC wait until someone develops a really bad opportunistic infection that could only come from an underlying compromised immune system and they then inject the person with antibodies that react in HIV tests. Maybe that is what they have done to millions of people all over this world. All doctors know about this secret club and they all get kickbacks from selling the HIV drugs. That is what it is all about. And then they put their dead bodies in hospitals where they can do experiments on them. Power to the people who demand they admit this.

Comment by: joannie at October 10, 2005 06:19 PM

To Barbar and Joannie:

“Anyone with an open mind would have to realize that” if one reads the science that has been withheld from the public demonstrating the lack of indisputable proof that HIV causes AIDS – including but not limited to the non-specificity of the antibody tests which contain disclaimers in their instruction kits stating that they are not meant to be used as diagnostic tools for determining the presence of HIV – then one needs to consider the myriad other known ways the human immune system can be compromised to the point of irreparability. A covert HIV injection program sponsored by the NIH and the CDC – which, incidentally, are both military organizations and staffed by military personnel – is not one of the known ways. At least, I don’t think so. I’d need some proof first.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a fact posted somewhere in the middle of this very blog that I feel obligated to reiterate:

“Ear infection is a most common ailment of small children and it is commonly treated with amoxicillin, and in “rare” cases (five per cent or more) as the American Academy of Pediatricians says as quietly as it can, there is a strong and sometimes fatal reaction.”

Comment by: Chris at October 10, 2005 08:23 PM

Chris, I am saying that it is a government conspiracy to inject people with a harmless virus and then cause them to die to perpetuate this profit machine. Everybody else on this forum says the same thing that the government knows this is all false and is keeping it a secret for profit. I do not believe it was a simple antibiotic that killed Eliza. Every single drug disclosure indicates fatal reactions are possible. Even simple aspirin has caused SJS syndrome and people have died. So I don’t think the chances of antibiotics killing this little girl are good. But I think it is much more possible that the military organizations have developed a plan to make profit for the country and to warehouse bodies for experiment. There are alot of people who we are told died who are there being experimented on. Everybody knows Princess Diane is one of those people. You have to read thru the literature Chris and see there is proof everywhere in there and you will see that this HIV thing is all a part of a very big plan. I think the new Area 51 in Utah is being used. Some dissidents know this is true too because they are paid to infiltrate our society and tell who is making trouble. Do not make trouble Chris this is happening.

Comment by: Joannie at October 10, 2005 09:20 PM

Yo Senorita Barbarian or Mrs. Polyphemus,

Word Up.

You have been blinded , and not by me.

Can’t you see that?

Comment by: Outis at October 11, 2005 12:40 AM

J

Throughout the fanciful speculations and contradictions that comprise your last two posts it is clear that your derision is an attempt to compare the accuracies of “dissident” science to the inaccuracies of gossip and hearsay. I’m sorry you feel the need to do that rather than to actually read up on the points mentioned at sights like www.aliveandwell.org and www.virusmyth.net among others.

On those sites and in many books you will discover that the HIV=AIDS paradigm has been scientifically challenged since the hypothesis was presented more than twenty years ago. This hypothesis was treated early on as if it had properly evolved into indisputable fact, when indeed it hadn’t. The world’s perception of AIDS is based on that original unproven and widely publicized hypothesis and the failed attempts to turn it into indisputable fact. That’s all.

Comment by: Chris at October 11, 2005 03:01 AM

Chris, I feel that it’s nearly impossible to reach the people who most need reaching. I don’t know what we can do about it if they refuse to read the pertinent literature. Maybe they’re afraid of what they’ll learn–or maybe the names of the sites scare them off.

My suggestion to anyone who’d like to follow some good back-and-forth dialogue at a neutral site is to go to Dean’s World (deanesmay.com). Check it out–what have you got to lose?

I reiterate that only 5 months ago I was a good little guinea pig taking me “meds” when I ran across a reference to virusmyth. Skeptical of what I would find, I skittishly checked it out. I read and read and read until all my questions were answered. I’ve been off the drugs since early June and will never go back.

You must consider the circular nature of all hiv/aids definitions. You must consider the number (70) of conditions that cross-react with the “hiv” tests. These tests have no gold standard–they measure something, but no one really knows what. It could be random RNA or other endogenous particles.

We are not the denialists, we are the realists. do some reading in the right places and you might agree.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 11, 2005 01:15 PM

Interested in how we got where we are? Go to www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/mwaids.htm for “Manufacturing the AIDS Scare (A Former AIDS Researcher Has Second Thoughts)”.

Find out why we had this fear pounded into us. Tell me it’s not politically and financially motivated. And there’s a whole lot more where that came from.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 11, 2005 02:45 PM

To Joannie:

Dear Joannie, I am a dissident, but frankly your arguments border on the ridicolous.

I do not believe that there is any connection between HIV and a deliberate government conspiracy, in particular area 51 seems utterly out of place in this context.

All you manage to do with an unstructured argument such as this (extraterrestrials, area 51 and secret government conspiracies, etc.) is associate very solid dissident arguments with science fiction. Dissidents however deal with facts. Such as there is no study that demonstrates that HIV = AIDS. Or the padian study which demonstrates that HIV has a ZERO transmission rate amon heterosexuals.

If you have proof that government agencies have experimented on Princess Diana, then please provide a link or refrain from associating hear-say sci-fi bullshit with HIV dissidents. (Having said that I am a Star Trek fan).

Thanks

Comment by: 15-year-and-in-perfect-health at October 11, 2005 03:13 PM

Trust me, this is all bullshit. And how did anyone know who the 9/11 hijackers were, so quickly — it doesn’t make any sense. No one’s ever proved that the planes caused the WTC to collapse — look it up, the internet is full of reputable and unbiased sources — and if you think it about you will realize that the United States government has been withholding information about this great national tragedy from the American public. Not too surprising, considering the vast amounts of money that can be made by the military-industrial complex.

Comment by: Died of AIDS last year at October 11, 2005 04:06 PM

Wow! How long have I been gone from this blog that the “truth” about HIV has gone from claiming it’s a massive scientific and government conspiracy to lie about its toxicity for financial gain to now stating that this “conspiracy” includes injecting people with a “harmless” virus and experimenting on them in an area (51?) after they die?

Okay, whatever.

Linda, let me say for the record that your statement about having “a dog in this fight” is a valid point, despite my agreeing with you on absolutely nothing else. But, after reading that you were on antivirals until this past June, I really don’t feel as though you understand the full scope of having your dog in this fight. Point being, you’re still fresh off the antivirals and, presumably, your numbers look good. It may take some time for you to experience the ill effects of this crackpot idea. Until then, you can beat your chest as hard as Christine Maggiore does her own. It’s EASY to claim something is harmless when you’re not faced with its wrath. There are others in your camp that have died of illnesses that NEVER appear in their HIV negative heroin-shooting-boozing-malnourished-fast-living friends. (if someone can prove otherwise, do it!)

However Linda, if you find yourself on a hospital bed unable to breathe well and are told you have PCP again…Or if you experience a tremendous amount of floaters and are diagnosed with CMV Retinitis…Or if you’re diagnosed with the brain infection, Toxoplasmosis or Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)…and you still refuse western meds…then I will believe your bravado! Then I’ll say, she’s wrong, she’s going to die, but she’s definitely a committed lady.

Seriously, if Keith Richards, Ozzy Osborne and hundreds of other insanely hard-living rockers who aren’t HIV positive haven’t developed these fatal opportunistic conditions…well…that’s one hell of an anecdotal case study for toxic HIV.

Think what you will (and stick to it, even when the chips are down).

Comment by: Hanna at October 11, 2005 05:40 PM

Hanna,

I have no trouble agreeing to treatment for what you call “opportunistic infections” should I ever develop one. I don’t intend to let my immune system get in that shape again, and yes, I do believe I have pretty good control over that.

Truthfully, I don’t know what my numbers are right now. I have as little faith in those surrogate markers as I do in the hiv hypothesis. I have no doubt my CD-4 count has come down a bit, but believe that may actually be a good sign–there is some evidence that it gets higher in response to

stresses on the immune system. As for viral load–well, that is a total viral load of crap. Even the inventor of PCR, which is used to determine viral load, says it’s useless for this purpose. I could refer you to a chart where the sameperson’s “viral load” was measured by 3 different labs at the same time and came out ridiculously different.

And considering how long I would have to have been “infected” by now, I should already be dead. I know those drugs are nothing but poison and I will never take them again.

And by the way, all of these illnesses have appeared for years in “negative” people–there isn’t one that hasn’t. If you’re going to make such claims, you should at least get your facts straight.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 11, 2005 06:19 PM

Linda, again, I find agreement with you on one single point. Every single AIDS-defining, opportunistic infection HAS appeared in HIV negative people. No HIV scientist has ever claimed otherwise. Yes, they’re all known diseases.

And if you leave it at that then you have truly mastered the denialist’s smoke-and-mirror show.

This is what’s called a strawman argument Linda. You have misstated the position of HIV scientists, suggesting they’ve claimed the presentations of HIV disease have never been seen in HIV negative individuals when it’s NOT ever what’s been said. And you conveniently leave out the critical contingencies to that statement.

HIV scientists have always claimed that the ONLY role of HIV is to cripple the immune system, thereby causing individuals to develop diseases that DO NOT EVER APPEAR in normal immune systems (no small feat).

I would relish reading a paper on one single human being under the age of 60 who has EVER suffered from CMV Retinitis, PCP, PML. These are conditions (the latter being potentially fatal) that can appear in HIV negative people who are taking immune suppressants, high-dose steroids or suffer from a couple of very specific cancers/leukemias – and even then, IT IS RARE. But in an otherwise healthy person – NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER!

Suddenly HIV comes on the scene and thousands of human beings were coming down with diseases that had only afflicted severely compromised immune systems. And, the friends/families/drug buddies/sex partners of these people who were HIV negative didn’t develop any of these lethal conditions. (and that’s, somehow, irrelevant to you?)

It’s easy to twist scientific fact. For example, it is a fact that 95% of women who contract the sexually transmitted disease, HPV (human papillomavirus), never go onto develop cervical cancer. So an “HPV denialist” could claim that the whole thing is a farce – HPV is harmless. But they don’t tell you that 90% of cervical cancer cases appear in women who’ve tested positive for HPV. So there is a very strong link between women who develop cervical cancer and HPV – but it’s easy to twist the numbers around and make HPV seem completely benign. And if you’re naive, you might buy into it.

As for the PCR issue, that’s one of the points of pseudoscience that’s presented – along with some huge sins of ommission.

“Dr Mullis’ objections do not apply to the unrelated bDNA and quantitative microculture techniques. Modern bDNA tests produce very similar viral load counts to modern PCR tests.” (http://www.avert.org/evidence.htm)

So you’re led to believe that the one guy who developed this test (PCR) questions the use of the test for HIV counts, yet you’re never told that PCR is only one of three tests used to detect HIV. Do Christine Johnson and Paul Philpott explain bDNA and quantitative microculture techniquest away too? (No, they don’t)

Comment by: Hanna at October 11, 2005 07:49 PM

I wish that planes had not destroyed the WTC, but they did.

And that the U.S. government has not been withholding information about this and other great national tragedies, but it has.

And that the internet is full of reputable and unbiased sources, but it’s not always, as you have so eagerly and gleefully (and tastelessly) demonstrated.

Fortunately there are and have always been people – and unfortunately, not enough of them – who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the truth. Christine Maggiore and Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, and the impartial scientists in whose findings they invest are some of those people.

The world would still be flat without them.

Comment by: Chris at October 11, 2005 08:38 PM

What the hell is going on with this BS about planes attacking the WTC, an area for experimenting on people who die, and a Star Trek fan? Has the blog topic changed?

Chris, to state that the scientists you agree with are “impartial” is…well…partial of you. In other words, your understandable lack of objectivity leaves you ill-equipped to judge someone else’s. (you won’t understand the circular logic in your error, which is why it’s painfully easy for me to see how you can get duped by the most minimal level of pseudoscience – you’re the guy they convert during the opening statement at the HIV Denialist conversion meeting, right after you grab your donut)

The point is, do you have some FACTS to offer up or is this just a biased, meaningless plug?

Do you have ONE SINGLE case of anyone on the planet who is HIV negative and has no other reasons for severe immune suppression who has EVER been diagnosed with PCP, PML, CMV Retinitis, Toxoplasmosis brain infection? Do you??? ‘Cause that would go a LONG way in raising some doubt that HIV is the culprit.

If 95% of HIV positive individuals are the ones presenting with the illnesses above and 95% of the illnesses above are presenting in HIV positive individuals (who refuse antivirals)…..doesn’t that seem like a MAMMOTH coincidence?!

Comment by: Hanna at October 11, 2005 09:16 PM

Hanna,

First, I must address the fact that my last post was in response to someone who’d posted a little further up in the blog. Pardon the incongruity.

Second, you continually overlook the fact that the more people that take the test, the more people will get a positive result. Unfortunately, the antibody test is not and never has been HIV-specific. In that case, it is diabolically partial to automatically blame the illnesses you listed on the presence of HIV.

To see the chart that accompanies the following factual information, you can go to www.aliveandwell.org.

Is the “AIDS Test” Accurate?

Many people are surprised to learn that there is no such thing as a test for AIDS. The tests popularly referred to as “AIDS tests” do not identify or diagnose AIDS and cannot detect HIV, the virus claimed to cause AIDS. The ELISA and Western Blot tests commonly used to diagnose HIV infection detect only interactions between proteins and antibodies thought to be specific for HIV — they do not detect HIV itself. And contrary to popular belief, newer “viral load” tests do not measure levels of actual virus in the blood.

All HIV antibody tests are highly inaccurate. One reason for the tests’ tremendous inaccuracy is that a variety of viruses, bacteria and other antigens can cause the immune system to make antibodies that also react with HIV. When the antibodies produced in response to these other infections and antigens react with HIV proteins, a positive result is registered. Many antibodies found in normal, healthy, HIV-free people can cause a positive reading on HIV antibody tests. (23) Since the antibody production generated by a number of common viral infections can continue for years after the immune system has defeated a virus — and even for an entire lifetime — people never exposed to HIV can have consistent false positive reactions on HIV tests for years or for their entire lives.

The accuracy of an antibody test can be established only by verifying that positive results are found in people who actually have the virus. This standard for determining accuracy was not met in 1984 when the HIV antibody test was first created. Instead, to this day, positive ELISAs are verified by a second antibody test of unknown accuracy, the HIV Western Blot. Since the accuracy for HIV antibody tests has never been properly established, it is not possible to claim that a positive test indicates a current, active HIV infection or even to know what it may indicate. (24) In one study that investigated positive results confirmed by Western Blot, 80 people with two positive ELISAs that were “verified” by a positive Western Blot tested negative on their next Western Blot. (25)

Antibodies produced in response to simple infections like a cold or the flu can cause a positive reaction on an HIV antibody test. A flu shot and other immunizations can also create positive HIV ELISA and Western Blot results. Having or having had herpes or hepatitis may produce a positive test, as can vaccination for hepatitis B. Exposure to microbes such as those that cause tuberculosis and malaria commonly cause false positive results, as do the presence of tapeworms and other parasites. Conditions such as alcoholism or liver disease and blood that is altered through drug use may elicit the production of antibodies that react on HIV antibody tests. Pregnancy and prior pregnancy can also cause a positive response. The antibodies produced to act against infection with mycobacterium and yeast, infections which are found in 90% of AIDS patients, cause false positive HIV test results. (26) In one study, 13% of Amazonian Indians who do not have AIDS and who have no contact with people outside their own tribe tested HIV positive. (26) In another report, 50% of blood samples from healthy dogs reacted positively on HIV antibody tests. (27)

Prior to the notion that HIV causes AIDS, viral antibodies were considered a normal, healthy response to infection and an indication of immunity. Antibodies alone were not used to diagnose disease or predict illness. Before HIV, only ELISA and Western Blot tests that had been shown to correspond with the finding of actual virus were used to diagnose viral infections. There is no credible scientific evidence to suggest that these rules should be disregarded to accommodate HIV.

In addition to being inaccurate, HIV antibody tests are not standardized. This means that there is no nationally or internationally accepted criteria for what constitutes a positive result. Standards also vary from lab to lab within the same country or state, and can even differ from day to day at the same lab. (28) As HIV test kit manufacturers acknowledge, “At present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.” (29)

The following chart illustrates just some of the varying criteria for what is considered a positive HIV Western Blot, and shows how someone could actually switch from positive to negative simply by changing countries. The differing standards for positive HIV tests are not limited to the locations and agencies mentioned here — criteria vary from lab to lab and results are open to interpretation. An inconclusive test can become positive or negative based on an individual’s sexual preference, health history, zip code or other survey data.

The various proteins used in HIV Western Blot tests are arranged into bands that are divided into three sections. These three sections are represented by the abbreviations ENV, POL and GAG. Proteins in the ENV section correspond to the outer membrane or “envelope” of a virus; POL refers to proteins common to all retroviruses which include polymerase and other enzymes; GAG stands for “group specific antigen” and includes proteins that form the inner core of a virus. The protein bands in each section are indicated by the letter “p” and are followed by a number which describes the molecular weight of that protein measured in daltons. For example, p160 is an ENV protein that weighs 160 daltons.

It is important to note that none of the proteins used in HIV antibody tests are particular to HIV, and none of the antigens said to be specific to HIV are found only in persons who test HIV positive. In fact, many people diagnosed HIV positive do not have these “HIV antigens” in their blood.

As mentioned previously, newer HIV “viral load” tests do not isolate or measure actual virus. The tests’ manufacturers clearly state that viral load “is not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection.” (31) In fact, viral load tests have not been approved by the FDA for diagnostic purposes and have not been verified by virus isolation. For more information on viral load tests, please see What’s Up With Viral Load? on page 36. Of course, the most outstanding problem with any HIV test is that HIV has never been demonstrated to cause AIDS.

Comment by: Chris at October 11, 2005 09:39 PM

Chris:

This sentence from you: “An inconclusive test can become positive or negative based on an individual’s sexual preference, health history, zip code or other survey data.”

Do you have any scientific evidence to support that or is your entire game plan only to parrot the absolute and utter twisted pseudoscience spewed by Christine-Denailist-Maggiore?

Furthermore, I’m always puzzled at why HIV denialists care about whether or not HIV antibody tests are accurate when HIV is harmless, right? But, having said that, an Elisa with a Western Blot as confirmation is absolutely accurate and supported by PCR, bDNA and quantitative microculture findings of HIV virus in the blood (now if you’re going to tell me HIV doesn’t exist either, you’ll have to refer to Duesberg and duke it out with him since even he states that it absolutely does).

And, despite your claim (another without a scientific reference) that “many people diagnosed HIV positive do not have these “HIV antigens” in their blood,” refer to my statement in previous paragraph – the science doesn’t support your allegation Chris, it just doesn’t.

And what do you mean by saying “the more people that take the test, the more people will get a positive result?” READ THAT OVER AND THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT THAT RIDICULOUS STATEMENT.

Of course that’s true Chris!!! That is true of any test that’s taken. The more people who take a math test, the more that will pass (or fail). The more people who take a driving test, the more that will pass. The more women who take a pregnancy test, the more who will be positive on them. If 1 Million women took a pregnancy test, you would find far more positive results than if only 100 women took the test.

Chris, seriously, be concerned – be VERY concerned. You are missing basic logic – Logic 101, if you will. I don’t know how you even make the statements you do and don’t realize how circular they are. But I suppose that’s the old adage, “if you’re crazy, do you know you’re crazy?”

Here’s a tip. If you’re ever in a big city and a guy tells you he’ll give you $20 to figure out which shell the pea is under, don’t do it – it’s a trick. Even if he tells you he has a list of people who have won, he’s LYING.

Comment by: Hanna at October 11, 2005 10:23 PM

http://www.duesberg.com/papers/the%20hiv%20gap.pdf

Here’s a good place to start.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 11, 2005 11:14 PM

One more try:

Yes, according to Duesberg HIV does exist in the form of a harmless virus. But again, you are overlooking the fact that the test does not identify it. The test identifies an antibody response to over 70 different antibody-generating particles. So I reiterate, the more people that take the test, the more people will get a non-standardized non-specific antibody-positive result. The more people that get a positive result, the more people will be told they are HIV-positive when in fact the test doesn’t specify that. That’s a crime.

This really isn’t so hard, Hanna, or whatever your name is. I honestly hope you’re pretending to be such an inordinately dense individual for the sake of what you believe may be entertaining to some. I’m ashamed to be communicating with you. You have demonstrated to everyone on this blog that you are not here with us to reason, but to attempt to incense and inflame, to attack people already devastated by grief, and to insult the intelligence of all of us by doing those things. Up till a couple of sentences ago I haven’t lowered myself to your tactics and I apologize to everyone other than Hanna for now doing so. But my girl, you really deserve a good swift kick. You’re positively hateful. By no means amusing. Just plain old hateful. And we are all aghast at your willingness to display it. In short, you suck.

Comment by: Chris at October 11, 2005 11:51 PM

Dear Hanna,

Among numerous other opportunistic infections and AIDS-like symptomatology, my NEUROAIDS doctor just put me in a research study for PML (which I am sure you must know is caused by JC virus-a harmless virus which most people carry). However, in the immunosuppresed–such as AIDS, it becomes active and destructively causes PML. (“Biogen Idea turns to expert for Tysabri help”. By Jefferey Krasner, Boston Globe, March 2, 2005)

Do I win a prize for meeting your challenge of ONE SINGLE CASE?

Woohoo for me…..

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 12:12 AM

Hi All,

I wanted to introduce myself to the group. My name is Karen L L and I live in Boston, Massachusetts USA.

I am a HIV-Negative AIDS patient.

I am a link in a chain of sexually-connected sick ‘heterosexual’ people. We all went through acute ‘retroviral’ syndromes. We all went through ‘dormancies’ only to eventually lead to symptomatic ‘AIDS-like’ demises. I have what textbooks would consider ‘AIDS-defining’ opportunistic infections.

My blood has been flown to the CDC-Atlanta, GA USA twice this year. I have been tested for HIV strains: a,b,c,d,e,o,and 2. I have tested negative to HIV RNA viral load tests. I have tested negative via Western Blot. I have tested negative for every viral pathogen that has a commercially-available diagnostic test (EBV, CMV, HHV6, HTLV, HSV, VZV, mycoplasmas, and countless others). I have tested negative for every other disease/pathogen you can think of. I am officially an ‘idiopathic’, immunosuppressed, lymphocyte-deficient walking medical mystery.

I know many others Bostonians both related to my cluster of sexually partners (and not), who are diagnosed ICL (idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia).

http://www.autoimmune.com/Non-HIVAIDSGen.html

I know many others in the United States and across the world who also believe they are destined to be HIV-Negative AIDS patients.

I am carrying an undiagnosed viral pathogen that has lead to my acquired immune deficiency (and Opportunistic Infections)–which I acquired from a sexual exposure.

I believe that the definition of AIDS is flawed, short-sighted, and ill-defined. But, if HIV is not the cause of AIDS, I do not agree that nothing is. I know that there are many pathogens (HIAP2, HTLV3&4, HHV6A(&B) and HPV-16/18 to name a few) that lead to immune deficiencies.

Many believe it is the pathogen HHV6 that is the true cause of AIDS, CFS, ME, Fibromylgia, MS and autism (to name a few)

http://www.lightconnectiononline.com/Archive/nov04_colums.htm

I believe I could be living proof that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

My case, in its entirety can be found here:

lemonfoundation.blogspot.com.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my plight and its place in the “HIV is not the cause of AIDS” debate.

Take Care, Karen 🙂 {still smiling despite it all}

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 12:19 AM

Karen L Making Lemonade Foundation

www.lemonfoundation.blogspot.com

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 12:22 AM

Hannah:

I entirely agree with Chris. You are not here to reason or engage in a rational argument. You are simply trying to invalidate our arguments with inflammatory remarks which have nothing to do with a structured argument.

In a previous post you stated that HIV is the most photographed retrovirus there is and you claim that to be proof of HIV isolation.

Please, please, please provide a SINGLE link to any page or document that shows that HIV has been isolated according to Robert Koch’s postulates, which are applied to any other infecetious agent BUT HIV.

I have seen the photographs that you mention: none of them show HIV in an isolated environemt, some of them are computer generated. But surely you would have noticed that, wouldn’t you!?

And yes it is relevent whether or not HIV tests are accurate as among dissidents some argue that HIV exists, others argue it doesn’t. But both dissident parties agree that CURRENTLY AVAILABLE EVIDENCE AND DATA does not support the thesis HIV=AIDS.

Dissidents also do not deny the fact that AIDS exists, but vehemently argue against orthodox theories regarding cause.

To eradicate AIDS we do not need AZT or any other ARV combo therapy BUT mankind needs to combat poverty, poor living conditions and starvation. Then AIDS will be eradicated too.

Unfortunately if you were to steer us through this crisis, such an outcome would never be achieved. Instead the pharma industry would rake in billions of our taxes for research and development into useless ARV’s.

Did you know that in Europe twice as much money is being spend on hairloss-research than malaria and TB? In the case of Malaria and TB the infectious agent can be isolated according to Koch’s postulates peer review confirmed the existence of these agents! Sadly though bald people are clients that are able to pay for a cure regarding baldness, where most TB and Malaria patients can afford to pay anything.

Obviously you cannot engage in a serious, rational and factual argument. there are numerous posts on this board which provide links to solid data regarding dissidents arguments, yet you choose to ignore them and continue with your hate campaign.

haven’t you got anything better to do?

Comment by: 15-years-with-hiv-and-in-perfect-healh at October 12, 2005 05:40 AM

It’s really no wonder that 99.9% of virologists completely ignore the antics of HIV denialists. They’re in a complete state of denial. Despite believing they have no immune suppression and that their HIV is “harmless,” they are at a loss to explain why they’re hospitalized with potentially fatal illnesses their cohorts NEVER develop. (oh yeah, it?s stress and cocaine ? meanwhile millions of highly stressed cocaine and heroin addicts NEVER develop these OI?s)

It’s like a train wreck in slow motion. The denialists are dropping like flies and they’re still convinced it’s not HIV. The science that HIV=AIDS is overwhelming, by way of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers (not a couple of random studies carefully selected to raise doubt).

Like I said previously, do what you will. I wonder how many more of you will continue to bury your young children from illnesses never seen in their HIV negative friends. (Hey, if 97% of children who grow green hair developed these fatal diseases never seen in children without green hair – you’d think the answer was obvious to most people, even before the scientific evidence was in)

Ironically, the denialists are a pathetic bunch who are the most frightened by HIV. Their extreme fear of this virus has caused a brain block. If they deny, deny, deny it won?t happen. Yeah! Good luck on that one.

Karen: You know what a case study is, don’t you? You think I’m going to take your word for you having PML? (maybe it really has destroyed your brain!) By the way, Tysabri is a drug that SUPPRESSES T-Cells Karen – which is why the drug has been linked to PML. And THANK YOU for proving my point about opportunistic infections (hence, their name).

Lastly, I’ve said it a thousand times – I have no clue whatsoever why denialists give a damn about HIV anyway. It’s harmless, right? I sure couldn’t imagine wasting my time on a blog where a bunch of people were claiming my antibodies to last year’s flu shot would produce fatal results one day. I wouldn’t be debating the tests for the antibodies because I’m wholly confident they’re harmless and I wouldn’t really care what some crazies think.

Why the denialists care what “crazies” like Hanna believe when they’re convinced that HIV is “harmless” is indicative of the complete lack of conviction of that statement.

Adios my little terminal malcontents.

Comment by: Hanna at October 12, 2005 10:00 AM

I am a HIV-Negative AIDS patient.

www.lemonfoundation.blogspot.com

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 11:39 AM

Hmmm…another diatribe. I, too, have no interest in providing further facts or references for those who will not see.

Why do we care if the hiv test is accurate? Because current society brands us as lepers once we test positive. Because it turns our lives upside down and keeps us from things to which we have a right.

I never said “healthy” people get opportunist infections–that’s why they call them opportunistic. But given that one can test antibody positive for having any one (or more) of 70 conditions certainly calls into question its accuracy.

If one’s habits and sexual preference were not a factor in determining status, why do the “counselors” ask all those questions? Could it be that the results are very subjective and could be read either way? I’ll answer that one–YES!!

Do I know of specific people who have tested positive when they said they were gay and negative when they denied it? Again, yes.

Has it occurred to anyone of the orthodox persuasion that perhaps the immune suppression (for whatever reason, and there are many) could come first and the antibodies known as hiv might follow? And could that be the reason why antibodies are found in people with such ridiculously disparate conditions?

Hey, I’m asking questions here. Don’t get defensive.

And what about the fact that no virus has ever been found in even a deathly ill aids patient? And antibodies in only a fraction of them? What do you make of that?

Food for thought–at least for anyone willing to think. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Go look at your peer-reviewed papaers and see how many times you see words like “presumed”. You can’t tell me that’s good science.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 12, 2005 11:52 AM

“Non-HIV AIDS patients may comprise perhaps one percent of all AIDS patients. While the majority of Non-HIV AIDS patients do not belong to any of the risk groups such as blood transfusion recipients, male homosexuals, and intravenous drug abusers in which AIDS was first identified, some Non-HIV AIDS patients do belong to these groups. This suggests that Non-HIV AIDS may also be transmissible.”

http://www.autoimmune.com/Non-HIVAIDSGen.html

Many believe that it is HHV6 that is the culprit in: AIDS, CFS, ME, Fibromylgia, MS and autism (to name a few):

http://www.lightconnectiononline.com/Archive/nov04_colums.htm

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 12:28 PM

I’m certainly glad I never received the societal stigma of being HIV-positive.

Comment by: Eliza Jane Scovill at October 12, 2005 12:55 PM

Sorry I said that Hannah was “absolutely right”. The venom and arrogance goes too far (sometimes on both sides).

Whoever posted that last comment is a sick puppy.

I’m not coming back here.

Comment by: katy at October 12, 2005 01:26 PM

We have almost infinite constellations of realities here: People who are HIV positive and healthy for 10-15 years now, without HIV drugs, is one of them. Are these people being asked to believe categorically that they will develop AIDS eventually? If they do not, then they are in “denial?”

No microbe with the possible exception of rabies kills every carrier. Disease causation has for centuries been rooted in explorations of germ vs host, and surely you know what Pasteur is rumored to have said on his deathbed. Could one of you voices from orthodox side possibly explain to me why it angers you so much when people do something as natural as placing faith in life, health, the capacity of their bodies to defeat microbrial and or toxic threats? Leave aside your rage about what you are certain killed Eliza Jane, and just tell me why people who are healthy and HIV positive for a long time are “in denial” whereas a breast cancer patient, for example, who believes she will beat the illness is heroic?

These are real flesh and blood people writing in here! How can they be in denial of their very existence? How many would it take, Hanna, to mitigate this gothic, murderous, HIV-Kills-All mindset of yours? Clearly HIV does not “cause” AIDS in every person expressing antibodies. But now you are demonstrating that you refuse to accept even the first hand testimonies of real people who have failed get AIDS from HIV in over a decade. How can we possibly carry on here under such primitive conditions?

If you were open to truth in all its complexity you would welcome every testimony from every long term HIV positive person. You would say: There’s something I don’t know about. Tell me more.

Why do you think you know all there is to know?

How can you allow your convictions, whatever they are, to permit such cruelty as you have expressed toward Christine Maggiore and Robin Scovill?

Don’t you see that when you call Christine Maggiore a “sociopath” you are describing yourselves? A sociopath is one who cannot feel empathy. That is a figure who should frighten all of us more than anything, more than any scientific or medical positions under the sun.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 12, 2005 02:19 PM

Hannah:

Please answer my question: provide a single link to any document that isolates HIV according to common scientific criteria such as Koch’s postulates.

You keep insulting us. You keep telling us we are wrong. But you fail to deliver to answer our questions.

YOU SUCK.

Comment by: 15-years-and-positive-and perfectly-healthy at October 12, 2005 02:19 PM

Hmm, are there any downsides to people insisting that HIV can’t cause any harm? Well, as more and more people point out this truth, it becomes more likely that the medical establishment will murder 3-year-old babies so that it can protect its dirty little secret.

Face the facts: how many 3-year-old babies drop dead? Isn’t it especially unlikely for the daughter of an affluent leader of the truth-about-AIDS movement to die? And of “AIDS-related pneumonia,” the coroner says? How obvious can it get — doctors will stop at nothing to make it seem that HIV causes AIDS. They will even kill babies.

Wake up, everyone.

Comment by: Dr. Jekyll at October 12, 2005 02:30 PM

CUT AND PASTED FROM EARLIER PART OF HIT & RUN THREAD:

SUBJECT: WHAT DID ELIZA JANE DIE OF AND IS THE CASE CLOSED?

According to her mother, Eliza Jane showed no clear signs of pneumonia and certainly not advanced pneumonia.

….

The LA Times omitted the crystal of questions and mysteries around her death and presented it as fact that she died of “AIDS related pneumonia,” when in fact the original coroner’s report found nothing of the kind. Does the ghost manifestation of AIDS related pneumonia extend its invisibility to include no damage to the lungs at autopsy?

From Maggiore’s letter to the LA Times:

“After being transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance, emergency room doctors took a series of chest x-rays that revealed nothing to account for her dire condition. …During an autopsy performed on May 18, my daughters lungs were carefully examined, weighed and measured. The coroner released her body to a mortuary the following day having found no apparent cause of death.”

Can we establish any groundrules for this discussion? Do those who oppose Maggiore believe that she is denying EJ’s cause of death even in the event that EJ turns out not to have had pneumonia? I am confused. I understand that you believe the second coroner’s report is beyond questions or doubts. But what if it turns out that there was bias involved? What if? Is there any language other than this “denlialist” stuff that might be deployed here, so we can de-stigmatize the search for truth?

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 12, 2005 04:21 PM

Celia Farber,

Just wanted to say how much I admire your work. I hope what you wrote about finding the truth can become a reality. However, I’m almost at the point where I believe the truth will be twisted to fit what the orthodoxy wants. And what if they do find EJ’s blood, if they had some to test so long after the autopsy, to be antibody positive? I can hear the “aha!”s now.

I’m afraid I will not be one of those who treat such a finding as gospel, for I know how easy it is to test positive for so many reasons.

Please keep up the good work and continue to shine your light into dark corners. The truth is out there. I wish everyone could see it.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 12, 2005 06:12 PM

Hanna:

I have not proven any points for you. I am not on any drugs or medication, as the CDC warned me that even if I wanted to experiment with them, they would alter the composition of my blood and ultimately interfere with the viral-culturing process.

I know many ICL patients, in Boston and across the world. Pathogens aside, these folks believe ICl represents ~1% of all AIDS patient. Personally, I believe the number is far greater than 1% if it is in my NON-RISK group body.

http://www.autoimmune.com/Non-HIVAIDSGen.html

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 06:21 PM

Celia:

Are you accusing the L.A. county coroner’s office of outright lying? Or making up an AIDS-related diagnosis where one didn’t exist? Because that is not merely a clinical diagnosis, it must be supported by lab findings.

So it’s easier to believe that the coroner, pharmaceuticals, nearly every virologist on the planet, the FDA, the NIH, the government, clinicians…all of these people are not only wrong, they’re lying? They’re conspiring with one another to share from the big pot of HIV antiviral gold – that’s it! (isn’t it more profitable to convince everyone to take antivirals to ward off HIV – I mean, this conspiracy is BIG, right?)

Secondly, if a woman has Stage III Ovarian Cancer and she believes she’s going to eliminate it from her body by organic living, meditation and eastern medicine – I say, good luck to her. Is she in denial? You bet. Do I think chemo should be forced upon her? Absolutely not. Furthermore, there are a good many people who refuse to spend the end of their lives ingesting potent chemicals, even if it could save their lives. And, yes, I do think that’s inspirational. But they don’t go around saying cancer is a big fat farce and that a huge chunk of the planet is in on it to make money off of them – what pretentious paranoia!

If an HIV+ individual decides the potential side effects from antivirals aren’t worth it, I respect that – wholeheartedly. It?s the elaborate conspiracies they whip off that are reprehensible. And even if I just chuckled at their dangerous propaganda, I would remain steadfast that putting your child?s well being on the line over your own elaborate conspiracy fantasies is criminal.

Celia, you created a strawman argument. NO ONE – not me, not any orthodox virologist – claims that HIV causes immune destruction in 100% of individuals. On the contrary, the “party line” has long been that a very small percentage of people have maintained an excellent immune system after 25 years. Presumably, they will never be affected by the virus – which is wonderful. (and NO ONE believes ANYONE with a normal immune system should be taking antivirals)

Your understanding of the principles of science is disturbing. If the science demonstrates that Eliza Jane was HIV positive and died from PCP, you resort to:

1) HIV is harmless

2) She didn’t have PCP – the coroner lied

Science must, by nature, be testable and falsifiable. But the denialists have no mechanism in place to falsify their outcome. The ONLY answer at the end of the experiment is that Eliza Jane died from something other than HIV/AIDS. So I?m not really sure why any of you care what this coroner or any other would say ? the one thing you will never accept is scientific evidence that Eliza Jane died of PCP brought on by immune system destruction.

This is eerily the same as the “Intelligent Design” claim that the universe is no more than 10,000 years old. When you point to evidence about red shifts, forming stars, the speed of light – they tell you that “God made it appear as though the universe was billions of years old” when it’s really not. So, the ONLY answer is that their God created the universe.

It’s intellectually destructive and sad.

PS: Linda, so what if you believe society considers the HIV+ a “leper” (which is ridiculous and untrue, perhaps it’s how you feel)? Do you know what kind of guts it takes to hold your delusional view in light of the overwhelming evidence against it? I’d say your good qualities are certainly inner fortitude and rebellious conviction. (why you care about this entire topic remains a mystery)

Comment by: Hanna at October 12, 2005 07:31 PM

Karen:

You insist on posting causes for PML without underlying immune suppression and then post causes that indicate on your very link that they’re caused by an immune disorder. “Idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia, or ICL, is an immunodeficiency syndrome” (your link) And previously you listed a drug that was identified in your link as causing T-Cell suppression.

I mean, you prove my point over and over and over and over again. The JC virus is found and harmless in most humans. However, the virus is only activated by severe immune suppression, thereby causing PML.

My “challenge” has always stated that PML is a RARE condition that, when seen, is most often in an HIV+ individual who has NO OTHER CAUSE OF IMMUNE SUPPRESSION. (And no – heroin, poppers, cocaine, stress, malnutrition, a thousand sexually transmitted diseases excluding HIV – don’t count as causes for immune suppression)

PML IS NEVER FOUND IN INDIVIDUALS WITH NORMAL IMMUNE SYSTEMS – which is my point.

Comment by: Hanna at October 12, 2005 07:53 PM

Hanna:

I mentioned no drug as the cause of PML. I provided a reference citation to point that I paraphasing from an article–that is typically what researchers and journalists customarily do. Did you read the article I cited, because you clearly have no idea what you are talking about?

Also, contrary to your post, your challenges seem to keep changing….actually your point based on your words was, as follows:

“Do you have ONE SINGLE case of anyone on the planet who is HIV-negative and has no other reasons for severe immune suppression who has EVER been diagnosed with PCP, PML, CMV Retinitis, Toxoplasmosis brain infection? ‘Cause that would go a LONG way in raising some doubt that HIV is the culprit.”

I win. When can I collect my prize?

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 08:36 PM

Folks, you’ll be happy to know I won’t be visiting or posting here any longer. Celia made some references to compassion that did have an effect.

Ultimately, you will believe as you like. I am neither offended nor outraged that an HIV+ individual opts not to take antivirals. Two people I loved deeply refused antivirals from day one (yes, they’re gone) and my life will be forever empty without those friendships. It could have been me, but for some random chance I was spared. Theirs was a personal choice to live med free, as is the choice of a colleague who is currently dying of colon cancer. They try to live as healthfully as they can and I’m absolutely sure that extends their lives and good health for a time, but they also understand the outcome.

What is perplexing is the elaborate conspiracies that even Tom Clancy couldn’t dream up! In my darkest moment of cynicism and negativity, I never imagined a global operation involving millions of human beings conspiring pure evil for profit at the expense of tens of millions of lives.

The only incentive I can imagine for any of you to do this is that the idea of HIV, albeit frightening, is so raw and terrifying that any alternative – no matter how sinister and implausible – is preferable.

If the soul lives on then I sincerely hope that Eliza Jane is well. And if Eliza Jane died from PCP brought on by HIV infection then I do hold her parents responsible for her death. But no amount of retribution brought upon Christine Maggiore will be greater than the turmoil of her life every single day without a very beautiful little girl.

Comment by: Hanna at October 12, 2005 08:37 PM

Karen: I didn’t see your post until after my “last” one (and I don’t want to ignore it). You DO HAVE CD4+ suppression, which validates my point. If you want me to read/respond to anything else, please email me personally. Thanks. H.

Comment by: Hanna at October 12, 2005 08:43 PM

Hanna,

You have misundertstood me.

You wrote:

Your understanding of the principles of science is disturbing. If the science demonstrates that Eliza Jane was HIV positive and died from PCP, you resort to:

1) HIV is harmless

2) She didn’t have PCP – the coroner lied

NO NO NO.

I have said that I have seen no reportage on whether Eliza Jane was HIV positive, because it was omitted from the LA Times article.

I have NOT accused the coroner of “lying.”

I HAVE MERELY STRESSED THE SOLID FACT THAT THERE ARE THUS FAR TWO CONFLICTING CORONER’S REPORTS AND WE ARE AWAITING AN ADDITIONAL PATHOLOGY REPORT WHICH CHRISTINE MAGGIORE HAS CITED IN HER COMMUNICATIONS TO THE LA TIMES. I AM NOT CASTING ANY JUDGEMENT ON ANY OF THESE REPORTS, ONLY SAYING THAT WE SHOULD ALL KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

Please acknowledge that I have said that I am not accusing anybody of lying nor am I weaving conspiracy theories. I am insisting here only on the careful weighing of ALL inormation before people come charging after Christine Maggiore with accusations of murder.

Get back to me please even if you are leaving this thread and at least acknowledge the dictinction.

I am not qualified to KNOW what causes AIDS and doesn’t but I am qualified to sift through the ethics of asking questions, reporting on anamolies, allowing the many many questions to be ASKED.

My “understanding of the principles of science,” is basically rooted in the Einstein dictum: “The most important thing is to never stop questioning.” The same dictum applies to journalism, though of course I concede that there are limits to “questioning.” I don’t think these questions are unreasonable, or have transgressed those limits.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 12, 2005 09:07 PM

There is a strong possibility (to put it mildly) that Mrs. Maggiore, blinded by her zeal to deny a connection between HIV and AIDS, allowed her 3-year-old daughter to die (by breastfeeding, not testing her, and so on). Is that something open questioning minds should ponder? Or is the lack of a connection between HIV and AIDS so conclusively proved by some personal anecdotes that completely outweigh a substantial (but surely fraudulent) body of medical research that this is out of bounds?

Comment by: Barbar at October 12, 2005 09:27 PM

Linda,

Thank you for your warming note. I have followed your story (here)with great interest. I admire your strength and really hope that you continue on the path of restoring your immune system.

I also appreciated your comment that it is most fruitful and most candid for all who post here to use their real identities.

I suppose the exception would be those who wish to keep their HIV status a secret.

Now I have a question for Hanna, Barbar, et al:

You have acknowledged that a “small percentage” of HIV positive people will never get sick from HIV itself–that their immune systems will withstand it somehow. Are you saying that we should NOT be working to decode what factors contribute to the chances of being one of the lucky few? I myself have no idea how many people we might be talking about, as we have never studied the entire constellation of contributing “risk factors” for immune collapse.

I don’t mind being called ignorant of “the principles of science,” so long as somebody illuminates for me how exactly my ignorance is manifesting.

How can we know how many people are long term HIV positive, ARV free, and healthy, if we continue to beat them with sticks and brooms, and accuse them of deranged “denial” every time they try to step forward?

Why is it I meet these people ALL THE TIME?

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 12, 2005 10:06 PM

Hanna,

“My “challenge” has always stated that PML is a RARE condition that, when seen, is most often in an HIV+ individual who has NO OTHER CAUSE OF IMMUNE SUPPRESSION. (And no – heroin, poppers, cocaine, stress, malnutrition, a thousand sexually transmitted diseases excluding HIV – don’t count as causes for immune suppression)”

Based on your words, you stated that, “a thousand STDs don’t count as causes for immune suppression”.

Actually it is my understanding that many believe that HHV6 is the true cause of AIDS. Many also believe it in the culprit in: AIDS, CFS, ME, Fibromylgia, MS, and autism (to name a few). While there is a lot of research data available on HHV6, I am attaching the best clear & concise article I have seen on the subject:

http://www.lightconnectiononline.com/Archive/nov04_colums.htm

It is understandable that so many people are passionate about the subject matter, I believe that the AIDS Debate should be based entirely on fact. Clearly, as we have witnessed here, emotion just clouds the discussion.

Comment by: Karen L L at October 12, 2005 10:07 PM

I think what we are actually talking about here…well…we are talking about many things…but one very important angle is truth in the age of mass media. Is it even valued? Rewarded?

I am not seeking to change the subject nor to peddle my own wares, but this article about Duranty v. Muggeridge speaks to the problem of Fashion Think, reportage, and ideological snobbery (“everybody knows”) as a potential blinding and even catastrophic force.

http://spectator.se/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 12, 2005 10:59 PM

Choo choo! Here comes the crazy train! Next stop, AIDS denial convention!

I read what you write, but all I picture in my head is a child with eyes closed, hands over his ears, screaming, “I don’t hear you! I don’t hear you! La la la la la!”

Comment by: p at October 12, 2005 11:53 PM

P, huh? Does that stand for P-brain?

Maybe that image is what you picture in your head because that’s the only thing you know how to do.

Comment by: Q for Question at October 13, 2005 01:46 AM

To Hanna:

Hanna you write that only a small percentage does not progress to develop AIDS. That is a lie. There are many like me and most do not take ARV.

And still: you ramble on, keep telling us how stupid we are yet you contine to fail to deliver any proof for you claims on isolation for example.

Why are you not answering the questions?

Comment by: 15-years-and-in-perfeect-health at October 13, 2005 02:53 AM

I’m amazed at how largely useless most of this thread appears to be. Posts that start with a personal attack on a person because they made a personal attack on someone else. Emotion-ridden wild speculation about that motivations of Christine Maggiore (a “hippy-dippy murderer,” etc.).

Why is it that we can’t just stick to the presumed philosophy of “reason?” There are some facts in this thread if you do a *lot* of sifting to find them. Why can’t we stick to those? And how about reasonable (and not accusatory) questions? Did Eliza have PCP in her lungs? Any more than any person who dies of any other cause? That’s a valid question.

Surely the ultimate goal is gaining understanding, and not decimating “the other team” through character assasination. I *know* at least some of y’all are over 12 years old.

Comment by: Casual Observer at October 13, 2005 09:06 AM

One last word to Hanna-who-will-not-be-posting-here-anymore:

You find my views “delusional” in the face of overwhelming “evidence”? I submit that your evidence is based, from the beginning, on a faulty premise. Things snowballed from there until we got to a point where there appears to be no going back. There is now way too much at stake for way too many people and companies for them to be willing to consider other possibilities.

The way proponents of alternate theories were not given equal time and space to explain their theories is science at its worst. I’ve said all this before, so I won’t belabor the point.

I find it astounding that you can find no reason for my interest in this subject. I would think that would be obvious. Aside from my own case, I see this largely as a human rights issue.

I have read with horror of the many cases in which parents were forced to give toxic drugs to children who were obviously made very ill by them–children who bounded back almost immediately when removed from the drugs. I’ve read of the ones whowere forced to stay on the drugs and subsequently died. How do you think those parents feel, being unwilling accessories in their own child’s murder?

It may interest you to know that I am off drugs with medical approval. My “numbers” were so good that the ID doc had no objection. I realize he thinks I’ll be going back on at some point, but oh well! I have not inquired about my latest batch of numbers. I’m a bit ambivalent about whether it’s better to know or not to.

No, personally I do not feel like a leper. But I am highly distressed that the state could have me arrested if I chose to have sex with someone without informing him of my status. I am not saying this is something I would do, but it certainly limits romantic possibilites! (Consider that the man I lived with for about 6 years immediately prior to my diagnosis and had sex with when I was quite ill is in perfect health.)

And, lastly, you have my sympathy, Hanna, on the loss of your friends. I understand a little better now where you’re coming from. I can’t state categorically that the drugs did not help at all in the beginning–it’s possible they did. But I can say now that my immune system appears healed and I was beginning to have a reaction that concerned me. After all, what are potent drugs supposed to act on if you have a great CD-4 count and no “viral load”?

So I beg everyone to consider that not everyone who goes through all this comes from the same place. Maybe some people’s immune systems have been destroyed beyond repair. I have no knowledge as to how these things work. I do know that an “hiv positive” label changes the way you are treated by the medical community–they’re so busy trying to eradicate the “virus” that they may fail to treat the immediate problem. I often wonder if I would have recovered sooner if I were merely treated for PCP and thrush. We will never know, but I will continue my search and read everything I can. If nothing else, I will be damn well informed.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 13, 2005 01:42 PM

Linda,

I think that when you have said something that simply cannot be countered, and people are pushed against a cold wall that is simply their own conscience, and the “horror” to borrow your word, of their own complicity in mass destruction of human life, the reaction you can expect is what you have seen here and that is silence.

I think they would be quite happy if this discussion were to fade away amidst the background noise of a world in chaos, of media chicka chack chack. What do you say we use this space now as a memorial wall to the many many children who have died in the name of “fighting AIDS,” by the very means you describe? Where to begin? Lindsay Nagel?

Let me see if I can locate her parents and if they will go on record with their story.

Is Heather Knolls Morgan still with us?

Hello?

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 13, 2005 11:19 PM

Anybody who does not familiarize themselves with this data does not deserve to vote, or speak. It is essential reading.

http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128845313.shtml

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 13, 2005 11:25 PM

I did not mean that Lindsay Nagel’s was tragic story. Sloppy wording. Her story has a happy ending. Her parents took her off AZT, were threatened with loss of custody, homicidal irresponsibility–the usual AIDS era nightmare. She was a child then. She is a healthy teenager today. Is Heather Knolls Morgan still with us? Is Hanna? Is Katy? Is the person who posted as “Eliza Jane Scovill?” I think we should continue. I think ALL facts should be unfurled.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 13, 2005 11:33 PM

“Hanna” said: “That’s who Christine is – a lying, twisting, ignorant, self-righteous, murdering denier. To expect closure after the death of Eliza Jane on this matter is to expect a level of humility not worthy of her.”

I am prompted to respond to such vicious words regarding someone I have known for several years. Christine is a very honest, loving, caring and intelligent person. It has NOT been proved that Eliza Jane had HIV; the coroner simply assumed that, because of Christine’s supposed HIV+ status, Eliza had died from “AIDS-related pneumonia.” She may very well have died from shock from the antibiotics–or something else.

To spew such hatred towards a grieving mother, whom I personally know to have given her all to her children, is just plain disgusting and barbaric, a reflection of some kneejerk emotional disturbance looking for a target to vent on.

Also, the use of terms like “nutcases” in describing people who don’t blindly follow the authorized governmental medical dictates is simply ignorant. Fortunately, like Galileo and many others there are true scientists who don’t march in line when a man in a white coat makes an ipso facto pronouncement. Instead of spitting venom as such individuals, you should laud them for making sure that the science is correct.

I do not find the venomous comments great examples of civility or humanity. You know what they say about people in glass houses. You sound more like the Inquisitors than compassionate and humane people.

Comment by: Neil L at October 14, 2005 02:04 AM

Neil – Bravo!

As a father of a nearly two-year old I will never, ever reveal my own status to any pediatrician, nor will I ever allow my son to be subjected to kind of HIV=AIDS=DEATH sience and culture I was subjected to. It robbed my of 15 years of my life and nearly caused me to commit suicide!

Comment by: 15-years-with-hiv-and-going-strong at October 14, 2005 03:17 AM

Celia,

I think your idea is wonderful. Many of the children in question I read about in your writing, so you probably know the names best.

I offer up the case of Sean and his sister Dana who were mentioned, I believe, in Liam Scheff’s story about ICC. I can’t locate the article right now, but I remember they had an aunt, Mona, who was willing and able to care for them, but when she saw how sick the AZT made them and took them off it, they were returned to ICC so they could be “compliant”.

I found the most heartbreaking part to be the description of Sean appearing to be a five-year-old when he was actually thirteen. Please correct me if I have got any of this wrong.

So this one’s for Sean and Dana and Mona who tried her best.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 14, 2005 09:50 AM

Linda,

Would you like to co-moderate this with me? I too think it is critical that stories get followed through. This thread began with the howls of HIV dissident haters who drew on a presumption that

a) Anti-retroviral medication during pregnancy is step one in being a responsible HIV positive mother. This is a development from earlier howls I can recall which called for such women to abort their babies. (This is a paradox, of course.)

b) Mothers who endure antiretroviral regimens during pregnancy, or for some portion of it, greatly increase their chances of having an HIV negative baby. The logic follows, further, that HIV status is the sine qua non predictor of health and survival in the baby.

c) If a woman nonetheless winds up with an HIV positive baby, she should put the child on a regimen of anti-HIV drugs, and

d) this will “save” the child’s life. By this we presumably mean extend the child’s life.

e) Breastfeeding increases the rates of transmission from mother to child. (I said “rates,” deliberately, because “risk” is a near worthless measure in this context.)

f) If follows naturally that not only must all of this be accurate, but we add to the equation the statement that pediatric anti-retroviral regimens have never been documented to kill a child, else this risk would be factored in and would mitigate the howls against the supposed “narcissistic,” “sociopathic,” homicidal mother.

I offer to locate and document here, (or better yet, let them speak for themselves,) people who have been through this labyrinth, beginning with an HIV positive antibody test in the mother, and shattering out into many different scenarios from that starting point. What happened to them? What choices did they make? How did their children fare?

First though, I would like a show of hands to see who is still with us. If those who believe all departures from orthodox HIV advice is “nuts,” “denialist,”deranged,” etc have left the room then there is little point. I am interested here in the trajectory of information. I also feel that Christine Maggiore has been gravely libeled here, by extremists who are very angry, very destructive, and who don’t even have the courage of their convictions to identify themselves with their real names. I therefore call for two things immediately:

1. Would all people who have attacked Christine Maggiore and the dissidents on this thread be willing to tell us their real names? I note that “Katy,” who claimed to know the family, crumbled when Robin Scovill asked who she was. I ask again that “Katy” identify herself.

2. Which of the following participants still with us?:

XMAS

Abiola Lapite

Phil

Akira McKenzie

Jennifer

Dave

Shecky

CMC

Wayne

Barbar

Hanna

Katy

Heather Knolls Morgan

Joannie

Died of AIDS Last Year

Dr. Jekyll

p

Of those still partaking, who will identify themselves, and if not, why not?

Of those that remain, will you take full responsibility for every word you have posted here, and concede error if you have been proven erroneous by the end of this discussion?

If you simply do not reply, you lose by default.

I will also alert Nick Gillespie and other editors at REASON that I have requested this upgrading and formalizing of the “debate,” to elevate it from a tomato throw to a true inquiry about a series of complex realities.

Who’s in?

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 14, 2005 03:02 PM

Celia,

I would be extremely honored to help you with this in any way I can. I only hope that those we wish to educate are indeed educable, or willing to learn.

Do they have open enough minds to see the facts for what they are if presented with them?

Will they stick around for what could be a profound learning experience?

If there is enough interest and you think this could be successful and informative, please let me know what I can do. I have a fair amount of time for research, since my grandson (I’m his full-time nanny) goes to preschool 4 mornings a week and still takes a several-hour nap in the afternoon.

I find this concept extremely exciting and am looking forward to assisting in bringing it to fruition.

Linda

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 14, 2005 03:56 PM

Dear Celia,

I am almost insulted for not being mentioned on your list. I very much appreciate your work and have followed much of what you have written. I am very impressed by your suggestions and as a HIV+ father of a very healthy 18 month old boy, I very much hope that Linda and you succesful with your ideas.

Please accept my apologies for remainin anonymous – I have experienced HIV science and culture for more than a decade and I will not go through that again.

With kind regards

F.

Comment by: 15-years-and-still-in-perfect-health at October 14, 2005 04:13 PM

Dear Celia,

I am almost insulted for not being mentioned on your list. I very much appreciate your work and have followed much of what you have written. I am very impressed by your suggestions and as a HIV+ father of a very healthy 18 month old boy, I very much hope that Linda and you succesful with your ideas.

Please accept my apologies for remainin anonymous – I have experienced HIV science and culture for more than a decade and I will not go through that again.

With kind regards

F.

Comment by: 15-years-with-HIV-and-still-in-perfect-health at October 14, 2005 04:14 PM

Dear “15-years-with-HIV-and-still-in-perfect-health”

The list was a list of those I found looking back over the thread, who expressed something on the scale of anger-rage-condemnation-sarcasm-incredulity-moral superiority etc etc against people like YOU (or me,) ie people who are Pro-Debate. THOSE are the people I am asking specifically to identify themselves and stand for what they have said here. I wanted to correct slander, libel, and inaccuracy. So I needed to know whether THESE people are “with us,” or whether they have departed because they became too disgusted with people telling their own stories and interupting them in their pitchfork bliss.

You are most certainly utterly and warmly welcome in this discussion, and I really hope you stay and tell us more of your story. I hope we have many more stories appearing here in the coming days. And I said before, and want to repeat, anybody who is positive certainly may remain anonymous. NOT, by contrast, somebody claiming to be “close to” the Maggiore/Scovill family. NOT somebody actually making the terrible accusation of murder against another. Do you see what I mean?

Look, I don’t run this thing. I’m just trying after years of wild-eyed claims about what dissident ideas ARE and LEAD TO, to pin some of this stuff down, with precision.

We need real people here, with first hand experiences. Talk to us.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 14, 2005 04:34 PM

Hello Celia,

I will follow this discussion and contribute with any experience that may be useful to construct a solid argument, based on facts, to support our case.

With kind regards,

F.

Comment by: 15-years-and-so-on at October 14, 2005 04:40 PM

A new series of abstracts that make the case that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS. I hope this fuels constructive debate. Would anybody of the HIV orthodox persuasion care to read, deconstruct, explain the flaws, share their thoughts… without ire?

http://hivnotaids.homestead.com/Abstracts.html

(courtesy of Michael Ellner/HEAL NYC)

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 14, 2005 05:09 PM

Okay. I have been reading and can’t help but respond. I “crumbled” because a) I do not want to fight with or hurt anyone and b) I was too aggressive in my first post and was too worked up and I regretted having phrased my thoughts in that manner.

There is no way to have a “discussion” about this or to ask some hard questions. It’s too painful. I get that. There are facts that have not been addressed.

By the way, I don’t think AZT is the answer and I applaud those who take care of themselves and their children without the use of drugs.

Still, the point of this thread…what happened to Eliza Jane? Why did she succumb? What can be learned?

There is no way to be a “supporter” of the family and ask questions.

I want out of this converstaion, and not because I have no pov but because you’re right that if I can’t identify myself than I should just move along. You can ascribe anything you want to my dissappearing but I don’t wish any of you any harm. Don’t assume that I don’t know the issue, I’m about as skeptical of the AIDS paradox as anyone. But, this sad situation requires some pondering on both sides of the issue. To deny the irony is bizarre.

Goodbye.

Comment by: Katy at October 14, 2005 05:19 PM

Ok Katy, fair enough. I didn’t mean to bully you in any way. The facts I have absorbed so far simply tell me that I have many more questions about this, as do many of us.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 14, 2005 06:02 PM

Here (link below) is the fruit of five months spent researching the deaths at ICC, in lucky

children who were given “access” to anti-HIV drugs. The documented record thus far shows that the New York Times was either very confused or very slovenly, when it reported that “no children died,” at ICC. It took a lot of effort and time to obtain these two death certificates and I want to stress that the fact that I possess two does NOT mean that these were the only two deaths at ICC, only that those who have been trumpeting the denialist line that there were “no deaths” are wrong. Perniciously so. Some REASON readers made clear in an earlier thread (about ICC) that they were in no way upset by this story, but rather by the sorts of people who seem to insist this is a scandal. What are they again? “Denialists?” “Kooks?”

The mind boggles. What does it take, exactly, to break through the denial here?

http://www.redflagsdaily.com/farber/2005_jul07.php

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 14, 2005 08:18 PM

There is a place where immunologists confer, Christine Magiore isn’t God and cherry-picking science is ridiculed.

For the rest of you, keep hallucinating.

http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/09/another-tragically-unnecessary-death.html

Comment by: lariene at October 14, 2005 08:30 PM

Another fake name, more sarcasm, and a link to a mediocre surgeon blogger’s blog, where disdain for AIDS dissidents runs wild. “lariene,” dear, nobody thinks Christine Maggiore is a “God.” Our point here in part is to argue that she is also not Satan.

Yet again, a vaporous person with a fake name has posted something vaporous and useless in answer to people trying to revert to HARD FACT and HARD DATA. Most astonishing is that this vaporous Besservisser (German for “better knower”) has had the temerity to accuse real people using their real names and telling their real stories about “living with HIV,” of HALLUCINATING.

I can’t deal with denialism this gangrenous. I have to take a break.

“lariene,” I’ll make a deal with you: I will not close eyes or ears to ANYTHING regarding these cases being discussed here if you won’t either.

Was I hallucinating when I stood on the grave, the mass grave, of children who DIED FROM HAART TRATMENT WHILE PARTAKING IN NIH EXPERIMENTS? This does NOT mean that EJ did not die of whatever you want to insist, but it DOES mean that AIDS DRUGS CAN, I SAID CAN, KILL. A 2004 study showed greater rates of deaths from HAART than from AIDS. No?

No?

Ok, then I will send you the paper. The entire paper. What is your address?

Don’t you dare show your masked face here unless and until you are man enough or woman enough, to face DATA. If you don’t write back and say you are willing to read and absorb any data I might produce then you lose by default. And you can go back to your over-the-rainbow blog pasture where it’s nice and safe to attack those who question HIV as the singular cause of AIDS, because all of you think alike and already agree with each other and have found ways to dismiss ALL of the parents whose children have been vaccine damaged and ALL people who have come to question HIV, and ALL people who have any issues with ANY vaccine or ANY public health agendas. I doubt you would have the courage to spout your anti-scientific, anti-humanist dogma in front of people who know first hand what they are talking about.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 14, 2005 09:10 PM

Hello Celia,

excellent post Celia! Over the years I participated in a number of discussions on similar boards. Facts and date are unfortunately not always what the other parties who are in favour of the traditional orthodox theories want to read or confronted with.

That does not mean that we must not continue to make a rational argument. When the debate gets heated and emotional that is when we need to make an extra effort.

Most who are not open to facts and a good argument, will remain to oppose us. Mostly with mail full of hate. But some can be convinced. Mostly those who are used to make up their own mind. Sadly, there are precious few of those about.

Thank you for your great effort!

Comment by: 15-years-and-on at October 15, 2005 05:57 AM

Let me propose a new postulate:

The quality of one’s scientific argument varies inversely with the quantity of name-calling one does to one’s opponent.

I think we can all agree on that.

It seems to me that when Hiv theory supporters and dissidents are measured by this postulate, there’s only one possible conclusion. The dissidents are right.

Let me propose another postulate.

The quality of one’s scientific argument varies inversely with the number of threats the person makes to the forum owner (or to the media outlet, in the case of drug companies that threaten to withdraw their advertising in response to critical reporting) to cancel one’s subscription unless the opposing viewpoint is censored.

These two postulates should be enough for all of us to judge the quality of argument from Akira MacKenzie, CML and other Hiv-Aids theory supporters.

Kindly provide me a royalty each time these postulates are applied. Thank you for your support.

Comment by: Marcel Girodian at October 15, 2005 08:46 AM

Marcel,

Let’s call it Girodian’s postulate. I agree with you completely about the need to factor this in as one tries to make distinctions. I hope I didn’t name call last night but I probably did because the condescension got so overwhelming. How to manage anger is a real problem, at times.

Your postulate lies at the root of this and many other tragic histories of totalitarianism. The first step is to shame the instinct to oppose it so profoundly that the overwhelming majority of people will back down immediately. For the best book I have read, perhaps ever, on the human psyche in a totalitarian state, I recommend “Stasiland,” by Anna Funder.

(An aside: In for former GDR, sex was a major threat, as it was of course in Orwell’s 1984. Sex is freedom (from the state.) In Stasiland you will find the hilarious and pathetic story of how the East German culture minister and his cronies invented and promoted a sexless dance, a dance in which the hips remain absolutely stationary. It was the anti-Western, anti-Elvis dance. It was called “The Lipsi,” and it was supposed to redress and replace East German yearning for anything Western. If anybody has any footage of this for any reason in their archives, I will pay dearly for it.)

In any case, as Marcel says, know them by their reflexive uses of disdain, condemnation, sarcasm, censoriousness…their pride in a culture in which people do not read, but rather forbid, crush, censor, control, demonize, penalize, fire, humiliate, sue, withdraw X,Y, or Z (advertising, subscription, business, etc) When all else fails they will start honking about murder. They even equate reading, thinking, and reporting with murder. There is not one ‘dissident’ who has not been through the destroying carwash, except those they don’t know about yet. Let me let one of them speak for himself. This is from a press release, about some rubbish, but here is what Canadian AIDS honcho Mark Weinberg has proposed to do with AIDS dissidents: (First the opening graph of the press release, then the pertinent graph:)

NEWS RELEASE

Release: No.00-EV/12

Date Mailed: Sept. 9, 2000

For Immediate Release

Contact: Contessa Morton‹208/265-2575; 800/336-9266

AIDS “Dissident” Travels to Kenya on “Forgiveness Mission”

Says Vaccines Helped Trigger Pandemic

Sandpoint, ID From the Office of the President of Kenya, one of the highest ranking military officials has arranged a series of lectures by a leading HIV/AIDS “dissident” scientist who is expected to present compelling new evidence that the pandemic was initiated by early hepatitis B (HB) vaccine trials conducted on gay men in New York City and Blacks in Central Africa during the early to mid 1970s. According to mission organizers, the documented studies, and their alarming implications, demand scientific and political reconciliation conducted in a climate of “forgiveness” in order to turn the tide on a raging pandemic currently striking as many as sixty percent of the people in many areas of Kenya.

PERTINENT GRAPH:

” These disclosures come at a time of heightened concern regarding the risks posed by HIV/AIDS to U.S. national security and international finance. On April 29, 2000, the CIA issued a report declaring that global HIV/AIDS was a U.S. “national security threat,” prompting President Clinton to place all of AIDS science, and the agencies conducting it, under CIA oversight. Immediate calls for the arrest of HIV/AIDS “dissident scientists” were made by officials representing consensus interests. Dr. Mark Wainberg, for instance, affiliated with McGill University in Montreal, and the president of the International AIDS Society, called for the immediate incarceration of “scientific dissidents” who proposed alternative explanations of AIDS, its origin, and treatment. These actions closely followed the highly publicized decision of South African President Thabo Mbeki to include the testimonies of “dissident” scientists in a review of HIV/AIDS. Synchronously, President Clinton approved the National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) CIA-sponsored formal declaration of AIDS as a “national security threat.”

Wainberg sits on at least one governing panel of a “science” magazine where an insider told me he has dictated that if the magazine were

to write about Peter Duesberg it would be imperative that he be “depicted as a psychopath,” (else, guess what, as per Girodian’s Postulate, he removes his money, power, influence, great name or whatever.)

Wainberg and his allies would have to build many prisons in many nations to accomodate all people who ‘question’ HIV, (or rather, question people like him,) at this point.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 15, 2005 10:50 AM

typical celia farber bending statistics to titillate the decidedly ignorant. you do not need a science class as much as you need a statistics class. that more people would die today from hiv avr’s than aids proves that the avr’s work. otherwise you would be saying that despite wide avr use people are still dying of aids. you want it both ways. how you have hypnotized the desperate on this thread is shameful.

long before azt people died of aids. then azt came on the scene and you say see, they died from the aids meds but ignore that they had been dying for years prior to that. then the avr’s arrive and the death rate from aids plummets drastically and you have no response. now you look at numbers that prove the ‘orthodoxy’ claims and somehow get people to believe that aids meds are indiscriminately deadly. i have not verified your stats but those would be good stats for the orthodox side.

suppose i say penicillin kills more people today than those who died of infections. only the perpetually stupid would write off antibiotics as indiscriminate killers. naturally no one died of penicillin 200 years ago because it did not exist. when the drug came on the scene it saved millions of lives and the unintended effect is that a small percentage of people were allergic and died from anaphylaxis. if deaths from infections reduced by half million after penicillin but deaths by anaphylaxis increased by 5000, would you still not have a tremendously beneficial live saving drug? isn’t the net result of saved lives what counts? if not what is?

that the death rate among hiv/aids individuals has plummeted since the avr’s is the one stat you cannot deny no matter how hard you try so you construct a diversion game and tell the desperate masses that they should ignore the radical improvement in hiv/aids survival rates and focus instead on how many people died of drugs that they did not die of before the drugs were invented. and these fools do not analyze your though process. the net result is that if you add all of the current deaths from hiv/aids and avr’s you still have an astronomical reduction in annual hiv/aids deaths, period. but even inf the number were zero you would peddle off some other misinformation to hang on to your own sanity.

it would really suck to admit you have destroyed your entire reputation and career on a sham. you are in your own professional denial. rule number one of journalism is to at least present two sides and you exclusively present one and a horribly skewed one at that. you outright lie. and now you are so far into this that there is no way you could be honest and admit you were wrong. but people are dying. i cannot be unkind enough in my description of you, contributing to the deception of desperate people. at least christine has had to walk the walk. you just prey on those less sophisticated and more gullible to swallow the crap you dish out. stick to your wordsmith abilities and get into sales, you already sell malicious propaganda that kills. your parents must beam with pride.

Comment by: ariand keefe at October 15, 2005 11:35 AM

Thanks Celia,

Is “Stasiland” a novel or non-fiction?

I think the real reason the US declared AIDS a “national security threat” is that it would be a tremendous blow to US prestige and US science leadership if Hiv/Aids is revealed to be false. (Not to mention a blow to those fine corporations that slip the money into our leaders’ pockets. And a blow to “stability” of course).

Comment by: Marcel Girodian at October 15, 2005 11:56 AM

In response to:

that the death rate among hiv/aids individuals has plummeted since the avr’s is the one stat you cannot deny no matter how hard you try >/b>

Read this from Duesberg, Koehnlein, and Rasnick’s (2003) The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition. J. Biosci. 28: 383-412>/i>

And the full text may be found at >b>http://duesberg.com/papers/index.html>b/>

ii) Uncontrolled studies investigating the mortality of HIV-positives on HIV drugs: Despite the discouraging results of these controlled studies, AIDS researchers now credit the more recently developed anti-HIV drug cocktails for a “declining morbidity and AIDS (Palella et al. 1998). However, the evidence for “declining morbidity and mortality” is only based on uncontrolled survey studies that investigated how long HIV-positive, clinically healthy subjects, but mostly from AIDS risk groups, survived on various anti-HIV drugs. The largest and most influential of these surveys was conducted by Palella et al (1998) who investigated in 1998 1255 anti-HIV drug-treated “patients, each of which had at least one CD4+ count below 100” from nine clinics in the US. However, all of these “patients” were “nonhospitalized”, AIDS-free subjects. “Patients with a diagnosis of cytomegalovirus retinitis or M. aviarum complex disease before study entry or during the first 30 days of follow-up and patients with active P. carinii pneumonia at the beginning of follow-up were excluded.”

A similar survey investigated in 2001 1219 anti-HIV drugtreated Canadian HIV-positives with less than 200 CD4+ cells, of which 87% were AIDS-free (Hogg et al 2001). Neither of these studies mentions drug-free controls. On this basis the Palella-study found that the mortality of initially asymptomatic, HIV-positive people, which are treated with new anti-HIV drug cocktails, is 88% (“88 per 100 person-years”) and the Hogg-study found it is 67%. But, in the absence of untreated control groups, the effects of the new anti-HIV drugs on the morbidity and mortality of HIV-positive recipients can not be determined scientifically from the results of these surveys. However, the average annual AIDS mortality of all HIVpositives on this planet [including the minority that is on anti-HIV drugs (The Durban Declaration 2000)] can be

estimated for 2000, the year that falls in between the two surveys, based on data provided by the WHO and the Durban Declaration: The WHO and the Declaration report in 2000 343 million “living with HIV”, and the WHO reports 471,451 AIDS cases for 2000 (World Health Organization 2001b) (obtained by subtracting the WHO’s cumulative total of 1999 from that of 2000, see also table 4). Thus, even if we assume that all AIDS cases were fatal in 2000, the resulting global mortality rate of HIVpositives would only be 14% – and thus 4 to 6 times lower than the 67–88% mortality rate of HIV-positives treated with anti-HIV drugs in the US and Canada. Therefore, the claims that anti-HIV drugs reduce the mortality of, and delay progression to AIDS are at odds with the AIDS facts reported by the Durban Declaration and the WHO. Contrary to these claims, the controlled trials and uncontrolled surveys listed above prove that anti-HIV drugs (possibly in conjunction with recreational drugs) increase the mortality of HIV positives 4- to 6- fold. It would appear that anti-HIV drugs are prescriptions or, rather than treatments of AIDS. (iii) Skepticism about anti-HIV drugs in the medical establishment: Even in the absence of scientifically controlled studies proving the toxicity of the new anti-HIV drugs, many AIDS doctors and researchers have warned of the numerous toxic effects of these drugs – even the Durban Declaration calls for drugs wich “have fewer side effects”. For example, HIV co-iscoverer Jay Levy wrote in the Lancet, “Caution: should we be treating HIV infection early? . . . No cancer patient takes three or four chemotherapeutic drugs for a lifetime. What is overlooked . . . is that these drugs can be toxic and can be directly detrimental to a natural immune response to HIV.” (Levy 1998). And retrovirus researcher Etienne De Harven describes the treatment of AIDS with DNA chain-terminators as a “so-called therapy worse than the disease

itself!” (de Harven 1999).

Because of such concerns about the toxicity of anti- HIV drugs AIDS doctors have recently introduced “structured treatment interruption” (Lori et al 2000) or “drug holidays” (Christensen 2000), to allow the patients to recover from the toxic effects of the DNA chain-terminators, such as AZT, ddI, and d4T, and of the protease inhibitors prescribed to kill HIV. In the words of Kendall Smith from the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, “Right now, the disease is life-threatening (he did not say HIV), on one hand, and the drugs that we have so far have life-threatening toxicities, on the other hand. It puts us between a rock and a hard place.” (Christensen 2000). In view of this the US government has appointed a panel of AIDS scientists to review the toxic effects of antiviral medications and issued recommendations to restrict prescriptions of anti-HIV drugs that were published by the New York Times (Altman 2001b): “Altering a long-held policy, federal health officials are now recommending that treatment for the AIDS virus be delayed as long as possible for people without symptoms because of increased concerns over toxic effects of the therapies. . . . More recently, concern has grown over nerve damage, weakened bones, unusual accumulations of fat in the neck and abdomen, diabetes and a number of other serious side effects of therapy. Many people have developed dangerously high levels of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood, raising concern that H.I.V.-infected people might face another epidemic–of heart disease. . . . Dr Fauci, who is co-chairman of the panel, said in an interview, ‘We are adopting a significantly more conservative recommendation profile’”. (According to the panel), “Much remains to be learned about how best to treat H.I.V.-infected individuals”.

However, it is hard to understand, why it should have taken AIDS researchers 14 years since the introduction of DNA chain-terminators as anti-HIV drugs (Kolata 1987) to make these observations and issue warnings about the “side effects” of these drugs.

In April 2001, the FDA followed up on these concerns by “ordering drug makers to tone down their upbeat ads for AIDS medications, calling them ‘misleading’ . . . because they imply greater efficacy than demonstrated by substantial evidence, or minimize the risks associated with HIV drugs” (Russell 2001) – again 14 years after approving these drugs for currently 450,000 American recipients. Many other independent observers have since commented on the “U-turn” of AIDS researchers (Day 2000) from “Hit HIV early and hard” in 1995 (Ho 1995) to reducing, skipping and delaying treatments, and even recalling some anti-HIV drugs (Altman 2001c; Associated Press 2001). Even conservative, nonscientific media such as Mothering magazine now warn expecting mothers not to use anti-viral drugs during pregnancy with heart-breaking accounts of the clinical consequences for the babies, and of the bewildering pressures by the medical and even legal authorities on mothers to enforce compliance with prescriptions of DNA chain-terminators for their babies (Farber 1998; Gerhard 2001; Hodgkinson 2001).>/center>

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 15, 2005 12:22 PM

ANEUPLOIDY AND CANCER:: DUESBERG IS RIGHT ACCORDING TO NATURE

from the 13 October Nature:

Editor’s Summary

Cancer and cell division

“A hypothesis about cancer initiation, first proposed nearly a century ago, has stood the test of time. German biologist Theodor Boveri

suggested that a failure of cell division might produce tetraploid cells (containing a double chromosome quota) that then undergo multipolar mitosis, leading to genome instability that can trigger cancer. Fujiwara et al. tested the hypothesis using an actin inhibitor to block cell division and generate tetraploid cells. The resulting cells can be transformed in vitro and also generate tumours in mice. The transformed cells exhibit massive genomic instability, including an amplification of a region containing genes associated with breast cancers.”

It goes without saying that neither the editorial nor the accompanying paper make any reference to Peter’s work, but that is to be expected.

Nonetheless, the literature is replete with his contributions that most certainly influenced and heavily the design and conception of the experiments reported with such glowing enthusiam by nature’s illustrious editor (a physicist by the way, not a biologist).

Anyone interested in a history of the aneuploidy theories of cancer from their origial Boveri construction so long ago, to the Duesberg reinvigoration and highly quantitative modernization can of course read my prophetic book

So maybe he is not so wrong about HIV and AIDS?

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 15, 2005 12:50 PM

Peter just sent me this in response to my emailing him a copy of the post above:

Harvey,

ATTENTION: 1) Shih and King’s reference #28 = D &Li , Multistep carcinogenesis …, Cell Cycle 2, 202 (2003) and 2) Pelham et al. cite

us indirectly in their review, reference #9 in the current Nat paper, for Cytoskel &Cell Motil D &R 2000.

So it’s not all bad!

P.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 15, 2005 02:31 PM

To Ari Keefe,

You wrote, ” rule number one of journalism is to at least present two sides.”

If only the LA Times had done that in the first place, this blog probably wouldn’t even be happening. But thanks to the astuteness of the Reason staff, it is.

Secondly, how dare you call me a fool. How dare you.

But perhaps I was one, early on, when I accepted the bogus science of the “HIV” test without question and allowed my life to be derailed based on a non-specific non-standardized antibody reaction which has been proven to be unreliable time and time again.

As a reminder, pre-test deaths were associated with Gay Related Immune Disorder that was invariably linked to hard-living gays (who do not represent the entire gay population) and IV drug users.

Once the hypothesis that HIV was the “PROBABLE cause of AIDS” was prematurely presumed to be fact, the media then presented HIV as the CAUSE of AIDS, and the antibody test was immediately patented. What was that you wrote? Oh yes, “rule number one of journalism is to at least present two sides.” I’m so glad you reminded me.

Regarding the hastily patented test, I refuse to call it an HIV test, since there are disclaimers in the instructions stating that it is not to be used as a diagnostic tool to reveal the absolute presence of something called HIV.

Based on this information alone, how can you possibly say there is no doubt whatsoever that HIV causes AIDS? Even scientists on your side of the fence have conceded to the test’s gross unreliability.

Once the test was patented, even those that were not the hard-living souls previously mentioned, felt pressured to take it. Based on the hype associated with the hypothesis, they truly believed their time might be limited. And if they were unfortunate enough to get a positive result that was NOT SPECIFIC TO ANYTHING WHATSOEVER, then from that point on they lived their lives quite differently. They lived lives absent of hope, believing whole-heartedly that they could begin disintegrating at any moment, and so many of them agreed to swallow toxic medication to prevent that from happening, or evolved into individuals who abandoned all rational concern for their own well-being, until they died.

That’s the unpleasant music we have to face. And for obvious reasons, most people don’t want to.

So all it is, is Ms. Farber’s clever way with words that may persuade?

No. It’s the sudden presentation of pure logic which is consistently masked, contorted, and adulterated by stubborn name-callers such as yourself.

I am not a fool. How dare you. Really, how dare you.

Comment by: Chris at October 15, 2005 05:42 PM

Harvey Bialy has introduced a more important matter, namely a turning point in cancer theory, (with the predicted erasure of Duesberg.) I don’t want to bore people with an elaborate defense of my journalistic ethos, but “ariand keefe” has now attacked my “reputation” so malevolently, that I must respond in some detail, in an attempt to set the record straight. This speaks to the ISSUES, not just to my “reputation.” It also makes clear that you, sir, cannot read.

In response to the charge that I “deny” the “plummeting” AIDS death rates in recent years, and keefe’s charge that I claim “aids meds are indiscriminately deadly,”

he has not read my work accurately, and this is a gross mis-characterization. In 2000, I wrote a 10,000 word story on David Ho, the (affluent, gay) culture of cocktail mania, and the mathematical model that it was predicated upon. Here is an outtake. I don’t think this is journalism that lacks objectivity, or nuance, personally:

From “Science Fiction” (GEAR, 2000)

“There are facts and figures, studies and counter-studies, a virtual blizzard of data that could be arranged to show any number of things. The new AIDS drugs have saved people’s lives: that’s one piece of truth. The new AIDS drugs have killed people: that’s another. The new AIDS drugs have damaged and deformed some people so badly that although they are alive, they wish they were dead.”

….

Example #2, from same article, which I submit as proof that I quote people from the mainstream perspective, as well as “dissidents:”

***

“There is absolutely no question whatsoever that protease inhibitors have helped people,” says veteran AIDS doctor Joseph Sonnabend, co-founder of AmFAR, now practicing in New York’s Greenwich Village. “But they’ve probably hurt more people than they’ve helped. That’s why it’s complicated. The people for whom benefit has been proven beyond a doubt are really sick people who would have died without them three years ago. But the target population for the drug companies are the healthy people, and those people will almost certainly have their lives shortened by these drugs.”

It was precisely those healthy people who were the primary target of David Ho’s eradication campaign. Time enthusiastically exhorted: “HIV-positive patients would have to start taking the drugs immediately after infection, before they realize they’re sick.” Ho’s mantra, “Hit hard, hit early,” ushered in a new machismo in AIDS treatment, where people seemed to measure their own self-worth by how long they could endure the devastating drugs.

“I have personally seen what was being called the Lazarus effect [where chronically ill people rise off their deathbeds],” says Dr. Michael Lange, chief of infectious diseases at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. “But I would also say that many, many people are being badly harmed by them. Also, the regimens are so complex and hard to stick with.”

“In my experience, I have seen that those who do not take any of these AIDS drugs are the ones who remain healthy and survive,” says German physician Claus Koehnlein, who recently testified this past December at the trial of a Montreal woman who refused to give her HIV-positive children cocktail therapy, and then in a chilling Orwellian scenario, had them taken from her and placed in a foster home where they are being forced to take the drugs.

“I treat the individual symptoms — the whole person, not just the virus. I treat them for whatever they are suffering from, and that’s that. I have not lost a single patient in seven years and I’ve never used cocktail therapy.”

Precisely what it means for a life to be “saved” is complicated, especially when the patient was not sick to begin with. As Koehnlein wryly commented, “If you treat completely healthy people you can claim great therapeutic success.”

“The vast majority — about 75 percent — of people who go on these drugs are completely healthy,” says Dr. Steven Miles, AIDS researcher and doctor at UCLA Medical Center.

“Large numbers of people are being inappropriately treated with drugs they don’t need. And their lives are probably being shortened, yes.”

At Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Massachusetts, a review was done on every HIV-positive patient who died at the hospital between May 1998 and April 1999, and compared to a group of patients who died in 1991, before drug cocktails were available.

Of the 22 “post-cocktail” deaths, half died of liver toxicity from the drugs, and two more had liver toxicity listed as a secondary cause. The study concluded that liver toxicity was “now the leading cause of death among HIV-positive patients at our institution.”

In other words, allegedly life-saving AIDS drugs are killing AIDS patients at this particular hospital.

Hospitals around the country are reporting radical increases in heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and other complications caused primarily by the drug’s interference with the body’s natural ability to metabolize fat. This is also causing the fat redistribution that leads to humpbacks and huge torso in men, and gigantic breasts in women. At the same time, fat disappears from the face, arms and legs, rendering patients stick-like.

Holly Melroe, a Registered Nurse at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, wrote last year in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care that the drug therapies “may have a greater life-threatening potential than the disease itself.”

I spoke to Melroe to see if she would confirm that statement.

“Oh definitely,” she said. “We are hospitalizing more people now for the side effects of the drugs, than we are for the infections of AIDS. It’s a very complicated situation.”

Up to 80 percent of those patients were found to have dangerously high cholesterol levels, which have led to heart attacks in many cases.

…The death rate, Melroe claims, has declined by 80 percent in Minnesota over the last four years.

Mr Keefe: Where in that do you find, as a conaisseur of good journalism, “malicious propaganda?”

I cite stats, studies, experts on varying parts of the scale of positivity/negaitiviy about the drugs, and I narrate candidly what remains unclear, still not known, and “complicated.”

I was asked to return to the loaded subject this year, by the editors of New York Press. Here is an outtake from that article, “Drugs, Disease, Denial”:

Outtake:

Let me say, first, that I have been told and have reported and have imprinted upon my soul that for some people, at some stages of immune collapse, these drugs have helped, and maybe even prevented a slide into death. Roberto Giraldo, a doctor and expert in infectious and tropical diseases who crosses the world treating AIDS, tells me this is probably due to their anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. He also tells me that in his experience, severe immune deficiency—which may be a more useful term than “AIDS”—occurs only where severe depletion of vital nutrients has occurred; reversing the illness starts with restoring those nutrients.

“Biochemically speaking, people who are malnourished, whether because they are poor, or because they are drug addicts, suffer from oxidization, and lack vitamins A, B, E, zinc and selenium. This is true of all AIDS patients I have ever seen,” he said via telephone. “We cannot say that protease inhibitors are useless. In 1996 when they started to use protease inhibitors, there is no doubt that there was a change. Before 1996, all the people who used AZT, they were killed. There was no benefit there. Protease inhibitors—they are also very toxic—but they have benefits—they are antioxidants. No doubt they are poison and in the long run they kill the person, but you need proteases in the process of oxidation. Besides that, these drugs are also antibiotics.” Giraldo believes that AIDS is a disease “of poverty,” primarily, meaning of extreme depletion of the cells, and that those who have been middle- or upper-class, who have gotten sick, depleted their bodies through drug use and prolonged exposure to toxins. “HIV by itself causes nothing,” he says.

Giraldo has written and published voluminously on how to reverse the condition of severe immune suppression through intensive nutritional supplementation and orthomolecular medicine, combined with modified antibiotic and other targeted drug regimens. I am well aware of how scorned these ideas are among those who feel that they and they alone know what AIDS is, and how to “fight” it, i.e., the orthodoxy and the pro-drug activists. Since 1986, when I began reporting on AIDS, I have compensated for this scorn, ridicule and censure by quoting the Roberto Giraldos of this world—not because I know these voices are “right,” but because I feel they must be represented against the relentless chorus of the new-and-better-drugs-into-all-bodies-in-all-nations crowd. I am not a doctor and have never treated an AIDS patient. I’ve known dozens if not hundreds of people though, in my 20 years studying this and listening to people, who have been HIV-antibody positive and stayed healthy for up to 20 years and probably more. I wish somebody was counting them, listening to them, logging them in the official history. Nobody is; they are not supposed to exist.

Each of the 26 anti-HIV drugs currently on the market, combined in infinite combinations, or “cocktails,” is, by admission of the manufacturers, potentially lethal. One of the unexpected effects of Protease Inhibitors, or so-called HAART therapy (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) seen in recent years was a disruption of the body’s fat-distribution mechanisms. This in turn (in addition to the fatty deposits on the upper neck and various parts of the body) has caused strokes and heart attacks in many patients, at the very moment when the drugs were theoretically ‘working,” meaning so-called surrogate markers (cd4 cells and viral load) were going the right way. The other significant danger of HAART proved to be liver and kidney failure, which, according to a study done at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, “surpassed deaths due to advanced HIV,” in 2002. In 2005 the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to a Danish study, AIDS drug cocktails “may double the risk of heart attacks.” In 2004, the journal AIDS reported, with characteristic lack of alarm, “All 4 classes of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and all 19 FDA approved ARVs have been directly or indirectly associated with life-threatening events and death.” The paper was titled “Grade 4 Events Are as Important as AIDS Events in the Era of HAART,” and “grade 4 events” referred to “serious or life-threatening events.”

The conclusion: More than twice as many people (675) had a drug-related (grade 4) life-threatening event as an “AIDS event” (332). The most common causes of grade 4 events (drug toxicities) were “liver related.” The greatest risk of death was not an AIDS “event” but a drug event—heart attacks (“cardiovascular events”). The authors wrote: “Our finding is that the rate of grade 4 events is greater than the rate of AIDS events, and that the risk of death associated with these grade 4 events was very high for many events. Thus the incidence of AIDS fails to capture most of the morbidity experienced by patients with HIV infection prescribed HAART.” (Italics mine) In plain English, AIDS drugs cause AIDS and death far more effectively than “AIDS” itself.

Any triumph or victory claimed by the AIDS lobby for these drugs must be measured against a phenomenon they continue to deny exists, namely the untold number of people who are, to use their language, “living with HIV.” This includes those invisible, uncounted, unloved people who are HIV-antibody positive, taking no drugs, not getting sick, not dying at a faster rate than HIV negatives. This begs the question of whether HIV causes AIDS. Currently, we have one camp—which I will call the “orthodoxy”—that argues that although current HIV drugs have frightful side effects and are difficult to take, they have nonetheless reversed a tide of death, which was seen throughout the 1980s and into the mid 1990s in people who were diagnosed with severe immune dysfunction. This camp, since it views AIDS as “HIV disease,” meaning caused singularly by HIV, concentrates its efforts to “fight AIDS,” on high tech drugs that in various ways are meant to disable HIV in the blood. They are extremely mechanistic in their view of the human body and the immune system. It’s all numbers.

The much-maligned contraries camp, which I will call the “dissidents,” have argued since the early 1980s that AIDS has multiple causes, and that its resolution should be rooted in a direct address to all these root causes. These include a cessation of recreational drug use, avoidance (when possible) of the most toxic anti-HIV drugs, a strong focus on reversing malnutrition, (particularly in Africa) and a treatment approach that treats the specific opportunistic infection a person manifests, with the state of the art treatment for that infection.

PCP pneumonia, for example, is utterly treatable, yet thousands of people died in the 1980s of it. Why? Because fighting AIDS meant “attacking” HIV, period. Never the specific diseases; never the underlying causes—only the virus. David Ho, Time’s Person of the Year, sported a button at a conference that summed up this ideology. The button said, “It’s the virus, stupid.”

How that came to be the dominant scientific religion is a subject of infinite complexity and tragedy. The virus (which is actually a retrovirus, of a class that was never thought to be pathogenic prior to 1984, and which we all harbor shards of in our germline) provided an absolute measure, a clear delineation, a battleground, and above all, a focus for a gigantic industry, as well as an international corporation called AIDS Inc. The natural and true history of AIDS is only beginning to be told, or rather, retold. When AIDS Began: San Francisco and The Making of An Epidemic (Routledge) by Michelle Cochrane traces the earliest intersection between what was being observed, those who were doing the observing, and how the “truth” fared in the process. Cochrane weaves a rigorously detailed semantic, medical, and sociological examination of the first cases as they were charted and described by the San Francisco Department of Public Health in 1981. She explodes the myth of the first cases of AIDS having appeared, as the New York Times famously phrased it, in “previously healthy,” and even upwardly mobile, gay men, and shows that quite the contrary, the first nine cases were in men who had a range of immune assaults. All were recreational drug users, many were IV drug users, and some were even homeless. They suffered from diseases that had been seen in IV drug users since the 1930s, primarily fungal infections and lung diseases. That they were “gay,” was perhaps the least significant detail. Because the federal research effort ($36 billion so far) has been 100 percent HIV-centric, and because AIDS was presumed to be sexually transmitted as opposed to “acquired,” we are essentially 20 years behind in our intelligence gathering on AIDS. One of the most astonishing things about the politics of AIDS is the way in which the left repudiated any explanations of disease causation that could be predicted by poverty and social marginalization.

One of the hallmarks of the AIDS orthodoxy’s language is that coiled within each word and phrase is the answer, as well as the shaming of the question itself. George Orwell (in 1984) described the orthodox style as, “…at once military and pedantic,” characterized by a trick of “…asking questions and then promptly answering them.” Anti-HIV drugs, for example, are always called “life-saving drugs.” Why not just call them “drugs” and allow their merits to be debated? Because at the root of the AIDS orthodoxy is a relentless urge to control all thought on AIDS.

All people who question any facet of orthodox AIDS theory are “murderously irresponsible,” and dripping with the psychic blood of millions. In this gladiatorial atmosphere, it is a wonder anybody speaks out at all. If only we could agree that most people are not, by nature, homicidal, and that dissenting views are productive to a search for truth, we might get somewhere. But I know, as surely as I know anything, that my opponent in these pages will have characterized my position as “denialist.” I am not denying anything. People have died of AIDS and the matter at hand is what they died from. A retroviral infection? A host of immuno-compromising factors? An absence of AIDS drugs—or indeed, the AIDS drugs themselves?

In 1984, when the US government announced at a press conference that one of its scientists—Robert Gallo—had found the “probable cause of AIDS,” the official theory held that HIV caused AIDS by eating CD4 cells at a rapid clip. HIV was said to cause AIDS in a year or two, at best. Today, this theory has morphed into a range of possibilities; HIV causes AIDS in 10 to 15 years, in most people, but a small minority, so-called “long-term non-progressors,” might be spared due to a genetic fluke.

To my mind, if we are to stick to the orthodoxy’s own measure, one cannot begin to speak of “saving” life until one has surpassed these ten or fifteen years. In the 1980s, AZT was claimed, with the same high dudgeon by the same orthodoxy, to “save” lives, yet few survived for more than a year on the earliest AZT regimens. The word “denial” comes to mind.

When people make dramatic claims for current drug regimens, the death rates they are actually comparing are not drugs vs. no drugs, but rather extremely toxic drugs of the early years compared to less toxic drugs of today. The earliest AIDS cases, marked by Kaposi’s Sarcoma, were treated with chemotherapy (1981 to 1986) followed by AZT monotherapy in doses ranging from 1800 milligrams to 500 milligrams (1986 to 1989) followed by combinations of AZT, ddi, ddc and d4t (1989 to 1996) followed by protease inhibitors in various combinations, from 1996 to the present day. The one era I have no question resulted in deaths from the treatment itself, is the early AZT era, (circa 1986 to 1989) particularly when the common dosage was 1200 to 1800 milligrams. A German AIDS physician named Klaus Koehnlein told me in 2000, “We killed a whole generation of AIDS patients with AZT.”

My friend Richard Berkowitz, author of Stayin Alive: The Invention of Safe Sex, A Personal History (Westview), said: “Every friend I had that went on AZT in those early years is dead.” He says that they lasted on average nine months on the drug. HIV positive since the early 1980s, Berkowitz credits his survival to two things: 1) having avoided AZT, and 2) safe sex.

What he means by “safe sex,” a concept and term he himself developed and coined, together with the late activist Michael Callen, is far more complex than mere condom use. Drawing on the pioneering observations and warnings of Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, it involves an avoidance of many STDs and parasitic infections, coupled with a belief in life rather than a belief in the death sentence of HIV. Berkowitz has also mitigated my repudiation of cocktail therapy by stressing that a moderate regimen pulled him back from the brink of death a few years ago.

End out outtake.

Death rates from AIDS have indeed gone down dramatically. A few wrinkles:

1. Throughout 1996, the year cocktail therapy was declared an enormous victory for stemming the tide of death, etc, CDC reported that fewer than 20% of HIV positives actually held prescriptions for HAART.

2. No scientific studies for any protease inhibitor has shown proven clinical benefits for patients being compared to a similar group of HIV positive people who do not take drugs.

3. ‘ariand keefe’ wrote: “isn’t the net result of saved lives what counts?”

He accuses me of not even grasping that penicillin saved millions of lives while it killed some people. That is a disingenuous argument. There are not hundreds of variables there– infections, clearly measured and manifested, a very effective drug, and some allergic/fatal reactions. You won’t trap me into condemning penicillin. But YOU TELL ME, what to conclude from this final conclusion in a comprehensive 2002 study. The study is titled “Trends In Causes of Death among Persons with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in the Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, San Francisco, 1994-1998” (Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2002)

“As others have reported, we found a decline in the rate of HIV or AIDS related deaths from 1995 through 1998. The relatively stable rate seen between 1997 and 1998 likely reflects a plateau and subsequent leveling off of the beneficial effects of HAART in this population. Also consistent with other studies, we found an increasing proportion of deaths from 1994 through 1998 associated with non-AIDS defining malignancies and other chronic diseases….

IN CONCLUSION (CAPS MINE), ALTHOUGH THE MORTALITY RATE DUE TO MANY HIV OR AIDS RELATED CONDITIONS HAS DECLINED, THE MORTALITY RATE DUE TO NON-AIDS DEFINING MALIGNANCIES (ED NOTE: AND THESE ARE CAUSED BY DRUGS,)CHRONIC DISEASES, AND COMPLICATIONS OF INJECTION DRUG USE HAS REMAINED STABLE, ALTHOUGH THESE CAUSES NOW MAKE UP A HIGHER PROPORTION OF OVERALL DEATHS AMONG PERSONS WITH AIDS. THE SMALL BUT INCREASING TREND FOR DEATHS DUE TO PANCREATITIS SUGGEST THAT ADVERSE EFFECTS FROM HAART MAY BE CONTRIBUTING TO INCREASED MORTALITY.”

So what does all of that mean? As I made clear in my two articles: The drugs are killing people, saving people, and also NOT saving people (distinct from “killing” people.) This is not MY journalism. Mainstream AIDS journalism and medical literature ITSELF has voluminously documented this paradox. All I have done is to describe it. Do you think I make up the quotes from the AIDS-treating physicians I quote?

About journalism you know nothing. About my supposed destroyed “reputation,” you are in the grip of wishful thinking. My reputation has been bolstered by the fact that my name was not attached to the following abysmal shams, to use your word:

1. The heterosexual AIDS epidemic

2. The uncritical trumpeting of the deadly drug AZT

3. Uncritical promotion of cocktail regimens

4. Insane statistical projections and racist rubbish about AIDS in Africa or other developing nations.

My record is all the more intact for my early alarmist writings about the corrosive effects of Political Correctness on our culture, particularly the rise of exploitative, disingenuous sexual harassment lawsuits.

I took hard paths but I have no regrets, as each path of questioning I took has proven valid, fruitful, complex, important. My “job” is not to clock people on the head with my certainties, but to lift questions out of the descending propagandas of the time (again to use your word.)

You are not the judge, in any case. History is the judge.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to use your real name here because your descendants could google you and realize that you sided with hysteria and inaccuracy in the AIDS era.

As for my parents, my father is a broadcaster and journalist himself, and it was his dictum that gave me my initial inspiration in the field. I asked his advice on good journalism, at about the age of 19, and he said, “I can sum it up in only three words.”

“Three words? What are they?”

“Penetrate the ostensible,” he said.

My mother unfortunately isn’t here anymore to bolster my spirits when spiteful, destructive ad homeneim attacks like yours come down the pike. But yes, she would be proud, I think.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 15, 2005 05:56 PM

To all: I truly apologize for how long that last post was. Not exactly “Hit and Run.” Sorry.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 15, 2005 06:02 PM

Thank you Celia, I do not post my name in order to protect my daughter.

I have posted some of my story here and part of my wife and daughters. The reason for my fear is the repeated testing the hospital was enforcing on us.

In fact when I told our doctor that I was going to postpone her THIRD test until after we moved (first 2 were negative) the result was a threat that if I did not bring my baby in before our move (4 weeks) he would report me to child protection.

Being a white middle class man and having jumped thru all there hoops, AZT at birth, multiple testing, ect up to that point and the fact our baby was in the bloom of health you can imagine my shock and horror at my rights of being a parent to my child being threatened. I am lucky to have a personal friend that is an MD and was able to get her case removed from that hospital.

The Orange County hospital she was born in told me that they needed to test her for 18 months and the negative result would be ignored until the 18 month mark. After reading our government guidelines it looks like she can be tested one more time at 6 months and be protected from AIDS drugs or a Christine type media/legal horror show. Until then I am rather shy about using my name.

The point to my ramble Celia is that my story is here for you should you want it and I will help our cause in any way I can.

Thank You for your courage to walk this path with us.

Fondoo

Comment by: Fondoo at October 16, 2005 03:28 AM

Lol ok it seems I had this site mixed up with another so I have actually not posted my story here.

I am 8 years sober and was tested positive to HIV 15 years ago. I was diagnosed with AIDS 12 years ago with a T-Cell count of 180.

My wife was diagnosed AIDS 10 years ago with 3 T-Cells.

Our daughter is 6 months old and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

I did not question medical science until the doctors in charge of my daughters care started to suggest/demand things that defied common sense, I began to read….

After reading I realized I had placed my doctor in the position of Shepard and myself and family as sheep, which has changed…

I have found the current theory/treatment behind HIV/AIDS suspect…

I am now the Shepard of my family and a doctor is at best an honored advisor.

I have always had a very dependable inner wisdom when I am willing to listen. I stopped using ARV’s 18 months ago based on that inner wisdom. I did not study data first or even plan it out ARV’s just became “not right for me”. I am now not surprised about the data I have uncovered in 100+ hours of study.

Do I have an existing health risk based on a positive HIV test? Quite possibly. Do I feel chemotherapy is going to help “my” body resist a “slow virus” *cough* or promote healing? I do not.

My inner wisdom tells me traditional Chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine is the better path to maintaining health and blood testing for oxidative stress is the better path for monitoring AIDS risk.

I tell my story because If I had just tested positive I would want to hear it. I feel the marketing of AIDS drugs as our only hope is criminal

Comment by: Fondoo at October 16, 2005 04:32 AM

To Fondoo:

Dear Fondoo,

I am the happy father of a 18 month old healthy boy. And I know what you have gone through, though life in the US as someone who is HIV must be hell indeed. In Europe at least, data protection and privacy laws prevent awful action such as your doctor reporting you to child care authorities. Nor can they simply disclose your status.

Nevertheless – I have been a Guinea pig to the HIV etsablishment, have listen to all their arguments and the best decision I have ever made was to withdraw from that HIV-gay culture.

Having said that, I also obeserver some dissidents becoming extreme anti-establishment. Which is also not good. The establishment is wrong with HIV/AIDS. But they are not always wrong. It is important to always, in every case, to look at as naby facts as possible and then make up your own mind.

And that is most disturbing to some of the forces behind HIV. if you think for yourself, that is a threat to them.

I have not had a CD-4 count in years, but I am in perfect health, and other than the occasional cold there is nothing wrong with me, my wife or my son.

Fondoo – I very much symapthise with you and wish the best for your family!

F.

Comment by: 15-years-and-still-healthy at October 16, 2005 06:06 AM

f*** – i hate my spelling mistakes

Comment by: 15-years at October 16, 2005 06:08 AM

“shortly after the Retrovirus Conference, GMHC’s hotline phones began to light up. Callers were frightened by an article that had appeared in Gear magazine, by longtime AIDS denialist journalist Celia Farber, describing the “unimaginable horror” of antiretroviral therapy. The article quotes respected physicians who complain that HAART is being used far too early and is harming otherwise healthy HIV-positive people. However, all of these doctors stressed that the drugs have had a dramatic beneficial impact on the treatment of AIDS. “There is absolutely no question whatsoever that protease inhibitors have helped people,” said Dr. Joseph Sonnabend. “I have personally seen what was being called the Lazurus effect [where chronically ill people rise off their deathbeds],” she quoted Dr. Micheal Lange of St. Luke’s Roosevelt as saying.

But the article is mostly a vicious personal attack on Dr. David Ho. Says Dr. Mile’s, who was also quoted in her article, “She had a very deliberate agenda that she built her article around. It seemed to be to bash David Ho. I don’t know why.”

http://www.aegis.com/pubs/gmhc/2000/GM140302.html

Comment by: Balance at October 16, 2005 11:57 AM

You don’t know why, “Balance”? Maybe because of those people who are now dying of liver toxicity? Maybe because “hit hard, hit early” was a very big, very deadly mistake? Not that I agree there was a vicious personal attack in the article, but shouldn’t the man most responsible for the mistake be held accountable for it? I actually found quite a bit of balance in Celia Farber’s article, but then I would.

If patients started questioning their treatment after the conference, isn’t that all for the better? I am extremely upset that it took me so long to find out a different perspective existed. I’m kicking myself for not researching on my own much sooner. We are all, in the end, responsible for ourselves, and we have the right to know that the answers we are being given may in fact not be true.

We have the right to go back to the beginning and see how this whole mess developed, to read everything we can get our hands on, and to make up our own minds. When the questions outnumber the answers, something is wrong. And I for one applaud anyone who is brave enough to point out the inconsistencies and to draw, and allow us to draw, our own conclusions.

Denialist is not the right word. It never has been. I am a realist and a truthseeker.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 16, 2005 12:56 PM

Hey . . . “Balance”

I took the liberty of posting the FULL QUOTE, and not just the FIRST HALF OF IT. Both halves, incidentally are found on this very blog in the same post, in the same paragraph. Now do make sure you read the second half this time. I’d put it all in caps, but I don’t want to insult your intelligence. Here it is:

“I have personally seen what was being called the Lazarus effect [where chronically ill people rise off their deathbeds],” says Dr. Michael Lange, chief of infectious diseases at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. “But I would also say that many, many people are being badly harmed by them. Also, the regimens are so complex and hard to stick with.”

And another thing, it was David Ho’s dictum “Hit it hard, hit it early,” that inspired my doctor to put me on a toxic HAART therapy while I was feeling great. After 22 months, I decided to stop. I never trusted them so I did what you did, Fondoo. My doctor surprisingly supported my decision to take a break, but, you see, that was the new trend. Apparently, David Ho’s proclamation was losing some steam and credibility. “They sure have come full circle, haven’t they,” my doctor told me. He even seemed a little embarrassed when he said it, kind of avoiding eye contact with me. I’d sue him, but as I said earlier in this blog (which I’m not altogether convinced you’ve actually read) I believe he belived he was doing the right thing.

The HAART therapy was supported by David Ho’s own convoluted mathematical equations that confounded even some of the greatest mathematicians, many of whom openly discredited Ho’s formulas. HAART was rushed onto the scene on a hypothetical cloud in the same hasty and unproven way that the original non-specific non-standardized antibody reaction test was.

I really wish you guys would read before you post.

Comment by: Chris at October 16, 2005 01:06 PM

I feel the need to clarify. My doctor supported my decision to take a break from the meds as part of a study. My hope was to find one that would monitor my bloodwork regularly, and if the T-cell and viral load numbers that I no longer give credence to eventually became threatening, then I would return to my cocktail regimen. The only studies I could find insisted on intermittent therapy – some weeks off, some on, etc. – so I quit on my own never to return to cocktail-land again. My doctor did not support that decision at all as I stated in a much earlier post.

Comment by: Chris at October 16, 2005 07:25 PM

Celia,

There is much discussion about how Leroy Whitfield really died. We are no longer willing to accept veiled terms like “complications of AIDS”. Tell us the whole truth or stop making this kind of reference.

I was hoping you might direct your considerable sleuthing powers to this matter and see what you can find out. For those who do not know, Leroy Whitfield was a former editor of POZ magazine and had written a column called “Native Tongue” in HIV Plus since May 2004. He died recently at the age of 36 after having refused ARVs since his diagnosis at the age of 19.

Although I can already hear the “aha!”s and see the pointed fingers, all I care about is the truth. Of course, whatever the verdict, there is no proof that ARVs would have helped him. It would interest me and my fellow dissidents to know how long he was gravely ill and what exact disease he is supposed to have died of. We need all the information we can get.

Thank you, Celia, for any light you can shed on this matter.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 17, 2005 02:47 PM

Linda,

I didn’t read POZ as a rule, and so did not know who Leroy Whitfield was I’m afraid. But like you I would like to examine, in unsparing light, the factors involved in any so-called dissident death. I think it is very important.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 17, 2005 03:26 PM

Actually, I did read POZ for many years, to keep up, and there were many good articles in it from time to time. I had an amicable relationship with the magazine and (I just remembered) even wrote for it. Walter Armstrong had good qualities but was rather hamstrung by his environment, I always thought. And Sean Strub was always quite respectful toward me, and I respected him too, despite our obvious differences. He once invited me to lunch, perhaps 8 years ago. We sat in the back of a small, dark Spanish restaurant in the meatpacking district, and Sean said, in something close to a whisper: “I happen to think that HIV causes AIDS, though there may be other factors involved. But I also think that anti-AZT activists like yourself have saved many lives and I wanted you to know that.”

“Thank you Sean,” I said, then I glanced around and saw that we were the only people in the restaurant. “But why are we whispering?”

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 17, 2005 03:49 PM

Entirely too much whispering has been going on, I’d say. The few articles I know of about Leroy Whitfield are in a very recent thread at AIDS Myth Exposed, general board. There is not much more information than I have given, but some family names are mentioned. Perhaps any contacts you may still have at POZ would be helpful.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 17, 2005 04:02 PM

what is interesting to observe is that when i suffer from as much as the occasional cold, those around me who are aware of my hiv-status, immediately inquiry if ‘all’ is well, as if i were to die tomorrow.

yet those who are not aware of my status don’t give a shit as ANY ONE will get a cold some time. in fact most people around me seem to have a cold more often than i do.

so it does not surprise me to find the LA times stating that leroy whitfield died of ‘aids-complications’, yet the ’cause of death’ apparantly has not yet been determined.

if leroy whitfield had not disclosed his status, if he had not been a HIV-celebrity, what would be find on the death certificate instead?

leroy denied ARV’s. he also survived without ARV’s for some 15 years. so have i. and i am still very healthy indeed and a father.

if i die tomorrow of the common influenza, it could be construed as an aids complication by those who are aware of my status. others unaware of my status won’t and be done with it.

i ask you this: if christine maggiore was not known as an HIV dissident, if her doctors had been unaware of her HIV status, if the coroner had not known about christine, what would we find on eliza’s death certificate? cause of death unknown? anaphylactic shock to antibiotics?

my sons pediatrican is not aware of my HIV status. and i will keep it that way. to keep him out of harms way and ARV’s. to keep him far away from HIV science and culture. to ensure that when he eventually becomes ill, his diagnosis remains as impartial as possible and he receives appropriate treatment. to ascertain he does not become a guinea pig.

Comment by: 15-years-and-on at October 17, 2005 04:08 PM

I congratulate you on your choice with your son. No point in stacking the deck against him.

I have done a little more research about LeRoy Whitfield and read some interesting articles by him on keithboykin.com. By the summer of 2004 his health was definitely slipping. From this time on, he agonized about whether he was making the right decision.

He weighed the toxicity of the drugs against his failing health without them. He could easily have died of liver toxicity quite a few years ago had he accepted treatment. We just don’t know. His T-cells declined to 40 and his viral load increased to 230,000 by the August, 2004 article. One can only assume things continued to worsen as time went on. It is obvious that he accepted that he had “aids”, and despite his treatment decision, did not seem to question the hiv/aids paradigm.

So as far as I can tell, he just got weaker and weaker and finally faded away. There seems to be some problem with his body being released for burial, and if what I read is accurate, this is at the request of his mother. It seems there is some acrimony between her and his siblings, but I may have misunderstood.

I don’t know if this can be considered a case of “voodoo hex”, but it seems possible. I don’t know if any attempt was made to bolster his immune system, or if he was taking really good care of himself. He indicated he had changed his diet for the better.

It seems this is a great loss to the black gay community. He seemed very insightful and caring. I hope they don’t revile him for his choices, which seemed to suit him despite his end.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 17, 2005 06:19 PM

To all,

Just saw “Good Night, and Good Luck.” No, it has nothing to do with AIDS, but everything to do with how those who choose to challenge the status quo are unjustly persecuted by media forced to submit to the whims of government and corporate sponsorship. A truly noble film.

Comment by: Chris at October 17, 2005 11:12 PM

“…IT IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE IN THE GAY COMMUNITY THAT AZT WAS AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER…” (An uncensored, honest exchange.)

Cut and pasted from www.deanesmay.com, where a different, more congenial conversation has been going on for some time…

From “jonny”

Celia, I’m sure I’m not the only one who respects your work and appreciates your entry into Dean’s World. Your earlier post about AZT was spot-on. It has become conventional wisdom in the gay community, after much reflection, of course, that AZT was an unmitigated disaster. Imagine the shame and regret that come with realizing that the very medicine you lobbied so hard to get only added to your community’s death toll. Elizabeth, although I respect your competing interpretation of the AZT data, I simply can’t abide your argument that AZT was the best treatment available at the time–and that it only killed those who were already quite sick, who, in short, were going to die anyway. That drug killed healthy and unhealthy people. It turned healthy people into sickly people who required regular blood transfusions and who were capable of little else than lying in bed. Desperation does not justify using a formerly shelved medicine–shelved because it was excessively toxic–to treat sick people. Duesberg encourages us to consider what might have happened if doctors, instead of prescribing AZT, had instead urged their patients to adopt a healthier lifestyle–to eat better, get more sleep, take vitamins, exit the party circuit, ceased drinking, opiate, nitrate consumption and so forth. Might more lives have been spared? Not enough thought went into AZT, period.

But, at the same time, I think Celia’s reliance on first-hand narratives begs an obvious question. What about the conventional wisdom, now ascendant in the gay community, that HAART is a brilliant success, that it has saved many lives and brought many people back from the threshold of death? Real gay men have witnessed other real gay men bounce back from chronic illness and infectious diseases after going on the medicines. They’re not symptom free, to be sure, but they sure as hell beat the alternative. The success of HAART, in my view, is the strongest evidence against Duesberg and his allies. If the medicine isn’t combating HIV, then what is it doing? Why is it so beneficial? And before concluding, let me first preempt the objection that nevirapine has killed babies and mothers and that HAART causes lipodystrophy and other bodily deformities. To the first point, I agree that no medicine should be foisted onto unwitting patients who are desperate for help (that was the AZT problem); to the second point, yes, the medicine isn’t perfect, but if you ask gay men whether the side-effects are worth it, particularly those who have been sick with pcp, cmv, and so on, they will almost uniformly reply yes. It’s not enough to say that these medicines have harmful side effects; so do medicines treating alzheimer’s, parkinson’s disease and so on. You must take the next step and show that these medicines are worse than the illness, or that they’re more responsible for the illness than other alleged causes. And I don’t think the HIV skeptics have established this.

AIDS patients are now far more likely to die of heart disease than they are of pcp, cmv or kaposi’s. And it’s true that the medicines contribute to these deaths by raising cholestorol to unhealthy levels. But that doesn’t mean that the medicines are doing more harm than good; it simply means that we need to develop meds with fewer side effects.

(link)Elizabeth Reid:

Elizabeth, although I respect your competing interpretation of the AZT data, I simply can’t abide your argument that AZT was the best treatment available at the time–and that it only killed those who were already quite sick, who, in short, were going to die anyway. That drug killed healthy and unhealthy people. It turned healthy people into sickly people who required regular blood transfusions and who were capable of little else than lying in bed. Desperation does not justify using a formerly shelved medicine–shelved because it was excessively toxic–to treat sick people.

Jonny,

I don’t think I’m the one that said that AZT was the best treatment that was available at the time and that it killed only the sick – I think that was Dale.

I’m on somewhat thin ice when it comes to the specific effects of AZT because I haven’t done one tenth the reading Celia has, I’m sure, or possibly you for that matter. From my quick research, even AIDS-skeptic reviews of the Concorde trial seem to be saying that after the first three years, the death rates were the same in the early treatment/deferred treatment groups. This isn’t supportive of the notion that AZT was a quick and inevitable death sentence or that AIDS didn’t occur in the absence of AZT. (I didn’t get the actual articles from the Lancet so if I need factual correction on this let me know. If I have to I’ll pony up the online access feels again or get to the med school library.)

However, the fact that the death rates *were* the same, and post three years greater in the AZT group, obviously means that it shouldn’t have been used in this way, and it was, on lots of people. I disagree that very toxic drugs should never be used on sick people – sometimes they are the only hope – but these were very toxic dugs being used on well people, and the justification wasn’t ultimately there.

So I don’t know enough about AZT to either defend or globally disparage it, but this particular use of it sure sounds harmful to me. The results don’t seem to me to be supportive of a lack of relationship between HIV and AIDS though.

10.17.2005 6:47pm

(link)jonny (mail):

“The results don’t seem to me to be supportive of a lack of relationship between HIV and AIDS though.”

(link)Celia Farber:

Jonny,

I have to thank you very sincerely for what you wrote. In 21 years, nobody has ever quite phrased it that way, and I feel a strange grief inside. AZT is… at ONE level…what this war is about, what haunts the battle the most, and I will explain why. I may have to do so over a few posts. This is rather emotional, and not a blizzard of facts. Let me re-post what you said about AZT, and later on I will address the rest of your points about HAART etc, all well taken.

Jonny wrote:

Celia, I’m sure I’m not the only one who respects your work and appreciates your entry into Dean’s World. Your earlier post about AZT was spot-on. It has become conventional wisdom in the gay community, after much reflection, of course, that AZT was an unmitigated disaster. Imagine the shame and regret that come with realizing that the very medicine you lobbied so hard to get only added to your community’s death toll. Elizabeth, although I respect your competing interpretation of the AZT data, I simply can’t abide your argument that AZT was the best treatment available at the time–and that it only killed those who were already quite sick, who, in short, were going to die anyway. That drug killed healthy and unhealthy people. It turned healthy people into sickly people who required regular blood transfusions and who were capable of little else than lying in bed. Desperation does not justify using a formerly shelved medicine–shelved because it was excessively toxic–to treat sick people. Duesberg encourages us to consider what might have happened if doctors, instead of prescribing AZT, had instead urged their patients to adopt a healthier lifestyle–to eat better, get more sleep, take vitamins, exit the party circuit, ceased drinking, opiate, nitrate consumption and so forth. Might more lives have been spared? Not enough thought went into AZT, period.

What I would like to say Jonny, is that you are quite brave to say this. It is the truth and it is a very painful truth. I don’t know who you are but I would like also to reassure you that the AZT denialism should not weigh on your conscience. It should weigh, first, on the consciences of those in power–the Sam Broders, the Tony Faucis, the Martin Delaneys, the Peter Staleys… Those people (among many others) were the architects not only of the AZT craze, but of the systemic campaign of censoring, punishing, maligning, and even removing from professional circulation all those who dared critisize AZT, of which I was one. (Doug Ireland at the Village Voice labeled us, disgustedly, “AZT refusniks.”)

I can tell you that in those early years, from 1987 clear through 1993-94, the so-called dissident battle was virtually ALL about AZT. And within that time frame, the REAL battle was the early years, until about 1990, when the dosages of AZT were so high as to be acutely toxic (1800-1200 milligrams.)

What I would ask you to recognize, and I think you do, is that those who fought against AZT–like the New York Native, like SPIN, like Meditel, like Michael Callen, Nick Regush, Peter Duesberg, and others, were attacked and blighted to such a degree that few would believe it. The New York Native was boycotted by Act Up, for their AZT coverage specifically, and the paper went out of business. SPIN was sued in Federal Court(this is a long story) and the AIDS column was the central target. (Glaxo Wellcome, like a conquering army, bought three pages of ad space in the VERY FIRST issue of SPIN after the lawsuit, after it was sold, and the column torpedoed. For Combivir (which includes AZT.) Right there in what was once the pages of the AIDS column.

Meditel was taken to the highest courts in the UK by Glaxo (then Burroughs Wellcome) and every single journalist who touched this story, in short, was stripped of a future career, more or less.

Then Concorde came out and in a flash it was all over. AZT fell.

The AIDS community very rapidly “moved on” from “mono-therapy” to “combination therapy,” and we were just… roadkill. This is not about pity or credit or anything–it is about the past, and something tragic that transpired for 100 reasons, and was never addressed, never admitted. Nobody who fought on the right side was ever made aware that they had done something right–only that they were STILL the enemy, the hated, the “irresponsible,” the “murderous,” the easily maligned.

All of AIDS discourse became irrevocably putrid and dishonest. The dissidents dug their heels in; the orthodoxy went from being vicious to being…even more vicious, even more vindictive and punitive. The truth COULD have been dealt with, a truce could have been arrived at, but nobody in the orthodoxy could admit they were wrong. (I speak strictly about AZT here, and in particular high dose AZT.)

This did indeed NOT mean that HIV did not cause AIDS, nor did it mean that cocktail therapy could never work, but it DID mean that a standard of decency and truth was destroyed, and AIDS culture became fundamentalist and increasingly violent.

It split the culture like an axe, and it is from this original wound that I believe we are still reacting, reeling, in many ways.

Greek and Shakespearean tragedy teaches us that an unresolved truth grows and leads to terrible consequences, and I believe that is what happened here.

If it is indeed “common knowledge” among gay men that AZT was an “unmitigated disaster,” then can you tell me…why nobody ever stood up and insisted, for example, that The New York Native be apologized to, or that the boycott be lifted retroactively (from the now sunk newspaper?) Then we could have had something like a STANDARD, for admitting what was happening, what had happened.

I think that it cheapened the lives of all those who were poisoned by AZT that nobody ever grieved or admitted those deaths. Yet you point out, very poignantly, that this involves great shame and regret.

Well, turn it on the leadership, those who had the faith of the gay community at that time. Make them look at it. If they look at it squarely, and admit it, history can move forward. As it is, everything is a defensive, hysteria-ridden muddle.

Somebody (I’m not sure who) said: “After AZT, anything.”

We are still in its long cast shadow. Nothing has been sane or decent since.

This is already very long so I will have to come back in my next post to address HAART and the the HIV causation questions you raise, but this is simply about the CULTURE OF INFORMATION AND REALITY IN THE AGE OF AIDS.

People like YOU can rescue it from hopeless dishonesty, set it right. But you have to believe that truth matters and that people should not be punished permanently for fighting for an unpopular truth because it renders all of medicine, science, all of media, all of “AIDS activism,” and AIDS “awareness”…a vast chaotic slum.

People should have spoken up.

People really should have spoken up.

The gay community deserved much better;

Humanity deserved much better.

I know this is getting rather melodramatic, and this is a science oriented discussion, but THIS part of the history is , as you said, quite emotional, and perhaps I may be forgiven for suggesting that we need to heal from it, before any of us can even hear each other, about everything else.

Thank you for saying you respect my work. I respect yours too.

10.17.2005 8:17pm

(link)Harvey Bialy (www):

btw jonny,

i made the same offer to daf9/Dale in the Duesberg-CD discussion and he replied that “he sucked at book reviews in high school” and so declined. he did say, however, that he read chapter 3, that is available here online, and enjoyed my prose. (he was a very different daf9/Dale in that discussion than he has been in this one.)

10.17.2005 8:19pm

(link)Harvey Bialy (www):

once more the gap between compose and send…

indeed, celia’s prose is exactly appropriate to this thread which is not at all in any form a scientific discussion but instead something much more interesting, at least to me, a wild free for all for many unsaid things about hiv/aids, peer review, drugs, etc to get said in a really open forum.

afterall look at what this discussion is ostensibly about…basically nothing since the TORRENT speaks for itself, and only the first few posts form people saying thanks really pertain to it. the rest just got wild. for which i repeat, i am very glad

now that i know you are a grad student jonny. i am sure that you will benefit a lot from using the cd. remember in 1992 HIV was proved beyond any doubt to be the cause of AIDS. so if the 1992 CD in fact destorys the hypothesis as it was then, which many contend it does, then the 2004 version must of necessity be a load of crappola.

if you are not so wired as to download the torrent, send another email to dean with your address and we will send you one gratis.

10.17.2005 8:30pm

(link)daf9 (www):

Harvey,

As well you know, nothing in science is ever proved beyond any doubt. But in 1992 HIV causes AIDS was the hypothesis best supported by the available data. Still is.

Dale

10.17.2005 9:01pm

(link)Harvey Bialy (www):

As well you know, nothing in science is ever proved beyond any doubt. really?

But in 1992 HIV causes AIDS was the hypothesis best supported by the available data. Still is how would “you” know?

but ok, i ammend my sentence:

the contents of the cd demolish what was the hypohteis CLAIMED to be best supported by the data.

and once more correction daf…in 1992 the nih/cdc and all the world health organizations and major medical and scientific journals declared that the evidence in favor of the hiv/aids hypothesis was so overwhelming that no more questions need be asked.

aren’t facts uncomfortable things to deal with daffy?

10.17.2005 9:20pm

(link)daf9 (www):

Harvey,

So I did a PubMed search of HIV and AIDS. 1992 and before – ~40,000 articles. 1993 to the present ~ 55000 articles. So I am compelled to ask … if all the world health organizations and major medical and scientific journals declared the evidence was so overwhelming in 1992 that no more questions need be asked … if that was rEALLY the case, then why did eveyone keep asking questions?

Dale

10.17.2005 9:47pm

(link)Harvey Bialy (www):

jonny,

i believe you (and celia) agreed above that the efficacy of azt was not relevant to questions of etiology.

i beg to differ somewhat. because at the time azt was introduced, it was claimed to be a way of satisfying koch’s third postulate. the reasoning went from the establishment that if you introduced what was claimed to be a vrius-specific drug and the patients improved then that was pretty good evidence that the microbe the drug was aimed at was the cause of the infirmity.

whether or not you agree with the premises, it is clear that the medical claims for the efficacy of azt were 100% falso.

this becomes even more relevant to the present situation because the haart cocktails are claimed for exactly the same reason to be ‘proof’ of the virus hypothesis. i will wait until celia posts her promised essay on the wonders of these, absolutely nonspecific, poisons…the reason btw for the brief lazarus effects that were seen in bed-ridden multiply infected patients…the protease inhibibitors are POTENT general anitmicrobials, and before they start socking it to the liver enzymes, they do knock out a lot of antibiotic resistant infections.

gotta run…z. calls for dinner and i have no time even to proofread this once.

10.17.2005 9:48pm

(link)Harvey Bialy (www):

just saw daffy’s great question…z. is going to kill me, but this is quick

daffy: these papers do not ask questions that addresss the validity of the hypothesis, they are all bells and whistles by the scientists etc who are making their livings from it.

the sheer number of papers on hiv and aids should tell you something!

check the number against cancer!

howq many dead from each yearly int he us?

damn it man…read my book…you know so little it is really impossible to write anything to you

10.17.2005 9:52pm

(link)jonny (mail):

Celia,

I look forward to reading your HAART post whenever you have the opportunity to compose it. And I’m glad you appreciate the praise that you’re very much due. As to why individuals like you haven’t received apologies, and why individuals like Fauci haven’t delivered them, I can only speculate that everyone involved thought they were doing their best and have retoractively decided–if they haven’t completely disavowed the past– that good intentions justify bad, and hastily made, decisions. To understand the phenomenon, we need to analyze each group separately. Gay men, although they would now never take the doses of AZT that their less fortunate friends did in the 80s and early 90s, cultivated a morbid mentality long before the AIDS epidemic began. Having witnessed their peers commit suicide or die at the hands of homophobic attackers, and having already felt the sting of social death at the hands of a world unwilling, or incapable, to acknowledge the existence of queer people and queer desires, gay men have lived in much closer proximity to death and violence than their heterosexual counterparts have.

I’m not the first to point this out, of course; countless columnists and queer theorists have hypothesized that HIV prevention has failed in large part because gay men are impelled by a death drive that knows no fear or limits. Recall the stories about bug-chasing in Rolling Stone and the constant lamentations over barebacking in the gay popular press. Bear in mind also that queer culture, at least as it was organized in the 70s, when HIV purportedly appeared, promoted an ephemeral lifestyle of drug-induced highs and lows, anonymous encounters, interminable nights, endless orgies, and so on. For years gay men have courted death–and I’m defining death not simply as physical expiration but also as living at the limits of life, at the edges of what other humans find intelligible, livable–and thus when AIDS appeared, and people began dying, the reaction in the gay community was as frequently fatalistic as it was hysteric.

What no one in the popular press will admit, however, is that the very mentality that drove men back to the baths and back onto unprotected dicks also drove them to the pharmacist to procure more AZT even though its side effects were practically unbearable. For a first hand account of this phenonenon, see Paul Monette’s AIDS memoir, “Borrowed Time.” Monette, hardly an AIDS skeptic, writes of his emotional highs and lows as AZT’s initially salubrious effect gives way to his partner’s chronic anemia and, before long, untimely death.

I’m not certain how gay men ever got it in their heads that AZT was the magic bullet; but for a time, they did. And they demanded, energetically and persistently, that anything less than full availability of the drug was a genocidal conspiracy to eradicate homosexuals from the population. That they now recognize how toxic the drug was but refuse to acknowledge their complicity in its lethality, testifies to the rampant denial (AIDS denialists takes on a whole new meaning here) in the gay community. But it’s difficult to fault people who were watching their friends–let’s be honest, their families–die every day, who were taught from day one that the lives they wished to lead and the loves they wished to enjoy were unlivable and unlovable, who well before the “epidemic” lived astride death, pain and suffering.

It’s true that life is much easier for gays today. But the structures of feeling–shame, despair, etc.–that pervaded earlier generations remain operative today, which perhaps explains why we still can’t come to terms with what happened and why.

10.17.2005 10:03pm

(link)Harvey Bialy (www):

my last post in this discussion…i know many of you are overjoyed.

i stop now because of the following reasons, in no particular order

1. z. says i am spending too much time at the computer typing instead of making beautiful images

2. the sole thing i wished to accomplish, namely the launch of what i call the wmd cd of truth has been accomplished now for several days. DW is not the only or even the major way the CD has been launched. o no. emails containing the text and hyperlinks of my original brief essay entitled “tools for finding the truth abouth hiv andf aids” have begun circulating to the entire 35,000 membership of the faseb, and a number of other lists of important scientific societies and journals, as well as the private lists of more than 100 well respected biologists around the world. this cd is not a blog event, although dw is the place and the medium that made it possible, especially in its torrential form.

3. all my pedagogical tricks have been exhausted for the moment, and insulting daf9/Dale is no longer even slightly enjoyable

4. jonny and celia have taken these discussions to an entirely new and really high level that do not need to be interrupted by me at all

5. elizabeth will still review my book, and i can look forward (as can you) to another weblog first (and reasonably soon i hope). maybe even jonny will join in with a review of his own..but the offer does not depend on that. (jonny…you wrote some really stunning prose above…only one little thing with which i would take any issue at all…you wrote “also drove them to the pharmacist to procure more AZT even though its side effects were practically unbearable.” those are not side effects, those are THE effects.)

so i wish everyone who uses the cd profitable use, and thank dean as always for his more than gracious hosting of me, and bid this thread a fond and final adios.

10.17.2005 11:13pm

(link)Celia Farber:

Jonny,

I can’t improve on your description of the psychology of the AZT years (and the years prior to it) but can say that I have heard a very similar description/lament, from close friends who are gay and lived through the AZT years, (Michael Callen, Richard Berkowitz and others) and I feel only an overwhelming urge to say: “I am so very sorry for what happened.”

It would require quite a bit of trust on your part, to believe me when I say that I don’t revel in having been correct about early dosage AZT; I only feel that I wish it could have been different. And as for “praise”–the truth is that yes, it is a welcome respite from the usual battering, but a re-adjustment of the scale of accuracy/truth is even more welcome, because as I said, it means that we can start to GET somewhere.

I feel that perhaps people feel that to concede AZT (the part of history we have been discussing here) is to throw away the entire paradigm. It is not.

It is to throw away denial. Just that.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 17, 2005 11:48 PM

As this dynamic uncensored web discussion continues to flower unexpectedly, I would like to introduce a remarkable product for truth junkies and data fiends. It is from Harvey Bialy, Peter Duesberg’s scientific biographer and founding editor of Nature Bio/Technology. His introductory text speaks for itself:

————

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.net/files /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas ( http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml )

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here ( http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml).

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 12:12 AM

A very exciting new release, from Harvey Bialy, who needs no introduction…(Duesberg’s scientific biographer and founding editor of Nature Bio/Technology.

————

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.net/files /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas ( http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml )

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here ( http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml).

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 12:31 AM

From Harvey Bialy, Duesberg’s scientific biographer and founding editor of Nature Bio/Technology. Very hot.

————

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.net/files /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas ( http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml )

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here ( http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml).

Comment by: Leo at October 18, 2005 12:34 AM

Harvey Bialy is Peter Duesberg’s scientific biographer; This is a very exciting monograph he has created, which speaks for itself:

————

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.net/files /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas ( http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml )

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here ( http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml).

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 12:43 AM

I for one hold the gay HIV culture responsible regarding the AZT desaster.

I clearly remember the loud voices in the UK and USA demanding AZT as a treatment option. There was a such a lot of noise about taking experimental drugs, how could pharmaceutical companies resist?

why weren’t there any calls to reverse this? because one would have to admit they are wrong. because the pharma industry got involved. this whole thing took on a self-dynamism.

some time in the future, people will say they only tried to do their best. and in the process killed thousands with their ARV’s.

Comment by: 15-years-and-on at October 18, 2005 03:02 AM

linda, this comment you made regarding LeRoy: “His T-cells declined to 40 and his viral load increased to 230,000 by the August, 2004 article. One can only assume things continued to worsen as time went on.”

it is confusing. why would you “assume things continued to worsen as time went by” when you have made references to viral count as viral load of crap? you believe hiv is harmless anyway, making a viral load test inconsequential to you presumably.

LeRoy did accept the hiv/aids link completely. what he questioned was the benefit of avr’s over liver toxicity. his torment towards the end appeared to be related to which was worse. and he had a right to make that decision. i wish it would have gone the other way for him, a very good guy.

where does your assumption that he would have died from liver toxicity by now come from? he could have yes. but there are huge quantities of people who began avr’s in the mid 90’s who are still fine, take the drugs and tout their benefits. i think the number of people who have died from toxicity is tiny compared to those who have not gone on the avr’s after linda, this comment you made regarding LeRoy: “His T-cells declined to 40 and his viral load increased to 230,000 by the August, 2004 article. One can only assume things continued to worsen as time went on.”

it is confusing. why would you “assume things continued to worsen as time went by” when you have made references to viral count as viral load of crap? you believe hiv is harmless anyway, making a viral load test inconsequential to you presumably.

LeRoy did accept the hiv/aids link completely. what he questioned was the benefit of avr’s over liver toxicity. his torment towards the end appeared to be related to which was worse. and he had a right to make that decision. i wish it would have gone the other way for him, a very good guy.

where does your assumption that he would have died from liver toxicity by now come from? he could have yes. but there are huge quantities of people who began avr’s in the mid 90’s who are still fine, take the drugs and tout their benefits. i think the number of people who have died from toxicity is tiny compared to those who have not gone on the avr’s after

Comment by: balance at October 18, 2005 07:41 AM

http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.comments.shtml

Above is a link to a very productive and high level discussion at Dean’s World. This thread by initiated by the dissemination of a reference paper monograph (described below,) from Peter Duesberg’s scientific biographer, Harvey Bialy, founding editor of Nature Bio/Technology. (I highly highly recommend, btw, Bialy’s 2004 book: “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life & Times of Peter H. Duesberg,” to those who wish for a truly clear, penetrating portrait of Duesberg’s scientific legacy.)

From Harvey Bialy, via Dean’s World, an offer:

————

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.net/files /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas ( http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml )

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here ( http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml).

Comment by: CF at October 18, 2005 08:45 AM

This is a test..

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 10:31 AM

Testing again. Getting blocked now, repeatedly.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 11:41 AM

In my enthusiasms last night, I neglected to include in my last post the url for the discusssion at DW http://deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml

and more importantly the little essay by Dr. Bialy below. Instead his writings, which came attached to the other material I had cut and pasted, were de-contextualized and made no sense. I have known the crazy but super smart doctor for a long time, and should note that he often adopts different typing styles to portray different persona, much as an actor might. In the Dean’s World discussion, he had been conducting an ongoing seminar, complete with lacerating outbursts, chalk thrown at the board, and countless other unusual, colorful, and instructive communicational techniques. I would describe Bialy as a classical scientist cast in the persona of a Randian-Beat poet, (if you, as REASON readers, can accomodate such a mixed metaphor.)

To wit:

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.net/files /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas ( http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml )

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here ( http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml).

Comment by: CF at October 18, 2005 11:59 AM

In my enthusiasms last night, I neglected to include in my last post the url

for the discusssion at DW _http://deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml_

(http://deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml)

and more importantly the little essay by Dr. Bialy below. Instead his

writings, which came attached to the other material I had cut and pasted, were

de-contextualized and made no sense. I have known the crazy but super smart

doctor for a long time, and should note that he often adopts different typing

styles to portray different persona, much as an actor might. In the Dean’s World

discussion, he had been conducting an ongoing seminar, complete with

lacerating outbursts, chalk thrown at the board, and countless other unusual,

colorful, and instructive communicational techniques. I would describe Bialy as a

classical scientist cast in the persona of a Randian-Beat poet, (if you, as

REASON readers, can accomodate such a mixed metaphor.)

To wit:

Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter

Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in

cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently

heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by

extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that

for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”.

Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much

worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data

in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation,

impossible to refute — until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology

& Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (_http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html_

(http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html) ) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The

article is typical of his reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant

citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian

Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of

this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of

references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as

the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the

literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in

the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website

(_http://bialystocker.net/files_ (http://bialystocker.net/files) /NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that

represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is

contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid

scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and

forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this

document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this

conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

_bialy@ibt.unam.mx_ (mailto:bialy@ibt.unam.mx)

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of

Biotechnology for the Americas ( _http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi_

(http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi) ). To obtain a copy click here.

(_http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml_ (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml)

)

Click here (_http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf_

(http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) ) for a sample.

For those with more slightly more advanced computer skills, a 100% free

Bitorrent stream of the CD is available here (

_http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml_ (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml) ).

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 12:03 PM

How is it that when I send a post with no real content it goes through uncensored, but when I try, now many times now in different ways, to post a REAL comment, it gets blocked? So this is a ‘test’ of a different sort.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 12:04 PM

Cybertime is sometimes very strange. Nevertheless, as The bard wrote: “All’s Well That Ends Well”.

Comment by: Celia Farber at October 18, 2005 12:20 PM

hmh celia this is strange. do u think some one is censoring ur posts? i hope not.

Comment by: 15-years-and-on at October 18, 2005 12:44 PM

I actually have been in possession of the said CD since 1996 (courtesy of HB) and have circulated it to a few orthodox but relatively open-minded colleagues (we could call them jesuits of science) and students here and there. I have thoroughly read (and re-read) it and laughed heartily at some of Duesberg’s marginal comments on the papers he CAREFULLY READ, my favorite being the one on mathematical models of the aids epidemic talking about the use of math in the absence of data: “cute” was his comment. Check some of them out when you have the time, but keep in mind what Igancio Ramonet concluded in his excellent book “La tyrannie de la communication”: “S’informer fatigue” – informing oneself is tiresome. Don’t expect predigested notions: if you REALLY want to know, and you have doubts about the relayers of info, go to the sources, which is exactly what you’ll find in Harvey’s CD. But, of course, if you lack stamina to actually read the info on which knowledge is based, then stick to reviews of your preferred stance. An amazing tool, but only if people actually use it.

Just remember what Sir Charles Babbage commented, long ago, on scientific fraud (“Reflections on the Decline of Science in England”, 1830), which can be boiled down to three major forms of lying:

Trimming, which consists in the smoothing of irregularities to make the data look extremely accurate and precise.

Cooking, which refers to the practice of retaining only those results that fit the theory and discarding others that may weaken/limit its range of application (generalizability).

Forging, which means inventing some or all of the research data that are reported, and even reporting experiments to obtain those data that were never performed.

You decide, folks,

Samba

Comment by: Samba Diallo at October 18, 2005 01:10 PM

Balance,

I know your questions were addressed to Linda, but having read the excerpt below at the link http://www.healtoronto.com/nih/, I thought it might be worth pondering. I’m sure Leroy Whitfield was a good guy and did not deserve to be beleaguered by the following assortment of bugaboos that quietly plagued his psyche. But unfortunately, once one accepts the HIV=AIDS paradigm without question, that’s what happens. Please do not misinterpret my two cents as a sign of insensitivity toward the loss of a friend. I’ve lost friends myself and have known people who have had to throw address books into the trash because there was no longer anyone left in them to call.

Here’s the cut-and-paste:

Alive and Well founder and spokesperson Christine Maggiore recently summarized her perception off the human toll of the failed HIV/AIDS hypothesis:

Whenever I speak in public someone invariably asks, “If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, why do a lot of people who test HIV positive get sick and die?” I think a better question is: How does anyone who tests positive remain well? Between the initial devastation of the diagnosis, the subsequent social isolation, dire predictions by doctors, lab tests measuring out our remaining time, medical care that assumes our inevitable early demise, AIDS organizations poised to usher us into death, negative expectations of friends, family and the public, constant media reports on the incurable fatal virus, pressure to consume toxic drugs, to regard ourselves as infected, abnormal, and ill, pitches to sell off our life insurance, exchange work for disability, and get a handicapped parking pass, and official orders to keep a safe, latex-covered distance from people we love, I wonder how so many of us manage to live.

Comment by: Chris at October 18, 2005 01:34 PM

Well,Balance, to answer your question about why I assumed things continued to get worse…the man is dead, so obviously something got worse.

I would like a little credit here for bringing this whole subject into the light when obviously it does not further my cause. I really am searching for the truth here. And I’m not sure everybody’s truth is necessarily the same. With regard to the surrogate numbers, I quoted them because they were there. I do believe it’s a “viral load of crap”, which, I think, does not preclude a vast change possibly having some meaning.

Do I believe the ARVs (please note it is arv, not avr) are basically useless drugs that have probably never helped and definitely harmed many people? You betcha! Do I deny that they have temporary benefits by being antibacterial and killing just about everything? No,I don’t. I just don’t know enough to say.

With regard to the PIs–even Roberto Giraldo, one of the leading dissident doctors, allows that they have antibacterial, antioxidant and perhaps antiviral properties. He still thinks they’re bad drugs, and very likely to cause liver damage. It was a leap on my part to suggest LeRoy might have died of liver toxicity–just another possibility.

Do you know a lot of people who have been on different combinations of these drugs for very long periods, with no breaks, who are still healthy? I’d like details. Im trying to learn here. I want to know the real truth, not the truth of trumped-up studies funded by big pharma.

I’ll admit that people are different, and possibly people within the hiv/aids group are there for very different reasons. I have no doubt that people who did heavy duty drugs and exposed them- selves to many partners with many diseases ended up with worse immune systems than I have. I think my experience was more or less a fluke and I believe my immune system to be healed. Only time will tell.

As to hiv causing aids–I just don’t see it. I don’t see causation. I don’t see real proof. I’ve been studying this daily for over 5 months now, and while not convinced Duesberg is totally right, I think he’s very close. The only thing I dispute is that there must be drugs involved, but if you allow, as he does, for malnutrition, I think my own case can be explained. So maybe I do agree, after all.

I’m just somebody out there who believes a major fraud is being perpetrated on the people of the world. I don’t think it was intentional in the beginning, but it has gone far enough. Nobody’s saying “believe as I believe”–we’re saying go back and look at how all this unfolded. Examine all the evidence dispassionately. See where the science is very bad. Then draw your conclusions.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 18, 2005 02:02 PM

To Chris:

You wrote: ‘I wonder how so many of us manage to live.’

Simple. You must keep it a secret. The burden of living with this secret is LIGHT AND SMALL in comparison to this pseudo-HIV-AIDS-gay culture. Especially if you are not gay.

It drove me close to suicide.

No I keep it a secret. I don’t like it. But it is MUCH BETTER than the alternative. Much better!

Comment by: 15-years-and-on at October 18, 2005 02:32 PM

Everytime I look at this discussion it not only gets longer, but it continues to take new and intersting turns.

Both Linda and Samba have provided what I think is an excellent Rx for HIV/AIDS indoctrination, no matter what variety.

Digest the CD for as many consecutive hours as your brain can stand. Rest. repeat until all symptoms disappear.

Like the kid in the commercial said: Try it, you’ll like it. Only maybe not if you are Bob Gallo, or Tony (falso) Fauci (I am not being inaccurate, fauci means falso, only cruel), or even Pope David I.

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 18, 2005 04:07 PM

I notice that the links in Celia’s repost are not all that clear, and one is not quite correct.

I give them again below in what I hope is an easier form to use.

The Duesberg monograph from Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277), is available here: http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html

The NIH/NIAID Official website from 1995 that

represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD is available here: http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/NIHONAID.PDF

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas

(http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi).

You can obtain a copy here: http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml

A sample is available here: http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf

The Bittorrent is available here: http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 18, 2005 04:23 PM

To 15-years,

Believe me, I get the need to withhold your identity. Although I’m a gay man – out to my family – and have no kids, I’ve chosen not to reveal my last name to avoid causing my parents undue stress. I haven’t yet told them about my journey from HIV+ diagnosee (is that a word, Harvey?) to “dissident,” or, more aptly, truthseeker, as Linda would put it. Despite my frustration, I’m so relieved I never shared my initial unproven diagnosis with them. Our collective lack of knowledge I believe would have sent me to an early grave. They would most likely have panicked, exacerbating their anxiety over other family issues and raising my mother’s blood pressure. I am getting close, however, to having a sit-down with them, so that I can more openly talk about this. I just want them to hear it from me before they inadvertently hear it from someone else. I think I’ll get Harvey’s CD first.

btw, Thanks, Harvey, for going through all that trouble. And go see “Good Night, and Good Luck.” I think you’ll like it.

Comment by: Chris at October 18, 2005 05:15 PM

Chris,

You are most welcome, and believe me ( and I use that word correctly) that I have a great deal of compassion for your situation, and every other man or woman walking around with the modern day equivalent of a star of david on their arms.

I tried to post the clarifying urls document below a while ago, but the server refused me passage.

Maybe this one will go through.

I hope so.

I notice that the links in Celia’s repost are not all that clear, and one is not quite correct.

I give them again below in what I hope is an easier form to use.

The Duesberg monograph from Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277), is available here: http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html

The NIH/NIAID Official website from 1995 that

represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD is available here: http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/NIHONAID.PDF

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas

(http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi).

You can obtain a copy here: http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml

A sample is available here: http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf

The Bittorrent is available here: http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1129083829.shtml

Comment by: Harvey Bialy at October 18, 2005 05:25 PM

Well, I’m not sure, being a middle-aged woman who had no business testing positive, whether my “secret” was bigger or smaller than that of the gay guys. I did not have the gay “stigma”, obviously. I did have a small restaurant and didn’t want to freak out my customers, on the off chance most of them were ignorant.

I must confess that there are times when I wish my father didn’t know. For anyone who came in late, I possess a bona fide “aids” diagnosis of about 4 1/2 years duration. It came by way of pneumonia which I am no longer sure was PCP. But it easily could have been, since immune suppression was in no way in doubt.

I’m very glad my mother succumbed to lung cancer before all this happened. If she hadn’t, it likely would have killed her. She was always a very prodigious worrier. I have never been a very good secret keeper, so most of the people around me know.

I’m getting a bit defiant about it all, but that only works if people don’t think you’re crazy or (say it with me) in denial. I think the more we can be upfront about it and justifiably angry (but in a nice way!), the better chance we have of being heard.

Comment by: Linda Steiner at October 18, 2005 06:49 PM

Here are the earlier articles in Reason still up at the urls mentioned above:

What Causes AIDS?

It’s an open question.

By Charles A. Thomas Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and Phillip E. Johnson

Most Americans believe they know what causes AIDS. For a decade, scientists, government officials, physicians, journalists, public-service ads, TV shows, and movies have told them that AIDS is caused by a retrovirus called HIV. This virus supposedly infects and kills the “T-cells” of the immune system, leading to an inevitably fatal immune deficiency after an asymptomatic period that averages 10 years or so. Most Americans do not know–because there has been a virtual media blackout on the subject–about a longstanding scientific controversy over the cause of AIDS, a controversy that has become increasingly heated as the official theory’s predictions have turned out to be wrong.

Leading biochemical scientists, including University of California at Berkeley retrovirus expert Peter Duesberg and Nobel Prize winner Walter Gilbert, have been warning for years that there is no proof that HIV causes AIDS. The warnings were met first with silence, then with ridicule and contempt. In 1990, for example, Nature published a rare response from the HIV establishment, as represented by Robin A. Weiss of the Institute of Cancer Research in London and Harold W. Jaffe of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Weiss and Jaffe compared the doubters to people who think that bad air causes malaria. “We haveÅ been told,” they wrote, “that the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) originates from outer space, or as a genetically engineered virus for germ warfare which was tested in prisoners and spread from them. Peter H. Duesberg’s proposition that HIV is not the cause of AIDS at all is, to our minds, equally absurd.” Viewers of ABC’s 1993 Day One special on the cause of AIDS–almost the only occasion on which network television has covered the controversy–saw Robert Gallo, the leading exponent of the HIV theory, stomp away from the microphone in a rage when asked to respond to the views of Gilbert and Duesberg.

Such displays of rage and ridicule are familiar to those who question the HIV theory of AIDS. Ever since 1984, when Gallo announced the discovery of what the newspapers call “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,” at a government press conference, the HIV theory has been the basis of all scientific work on AIDS. If the theory is mistaken, billions of dollars have been wasted–and immense harm has been done to persons who have tested positive for antibodies to HIV and therefore have been told to expect an early and painful death. The furious reactions to the suggestion that a colossal mistake may have been made are not surprising, given that the credibility of the biomedical establishment is at stake. It is time to think about the unthinkable, however, because there are at least three reasons for doubting the official theory that HIV causes AIDS.

First, after spending billions of dollars, HIV researchers are still unable to explain how HIV, a conventional retrovirus with a very simple genetic organization, damages the immune system, much less how to stop it. The present stalemate contrasts dramatically with the confidence expressed in 1984. At that time Gallo thought the virus killed cells directly by infecting them, and U.S. government officials predicted a vaccine would be available in two years. Ten years later no vaccine is in sight, and the certainty about how the virus destroys the immune system has dissolved in confusion.

Second, in the absence of any agreement about how HIV causes AIDS, the only evidence that HIV does cause AIDS is correlation. The correlation is imperfect at best, however. There are many cases of persons with all the symptoms of AIDS who do not have any HIV infection. There are also many cases of persons who have been infected by HIV for more than a decade and show no signs of illness.

Third, predictions based on the HIV theory have failed spectacularly. AIDS in the United States and Europe has not spread through the general population. Rather, it remains almost entirely confined to the original risk groups, mainly sexually promiscuous gay men and drug abusers. The number of HIV-infected Americans has remained constant for years instead of increasing rapidly as predicted, which suggests that HIV is an old virus that has been with us for centuries without causing an epidemic.

No one disputes what happens in the early stages of HIV infection. As other viruses do, HIV multiplies rapidly, and it sometimes is accompanied by a mild, flu-like illness. At this stage, while the virus is present in great quantity and causing at most mild illness in the ordinary way, it does no observable damage to the immune system. On the contrary, the immune system rallies as it is supposed to do and speedily reduces the virus to negligible levels. Once this happens, the primary infection is over. If HIV does destroy the immune system, it does so years after the immune system has virtually destroyed it. By then the virus typically infects very few of the immune system’s T-cells.

Before these facts were well understood, Robert Gallo and his followers insisted that the virus does its damage by directly infecting and killing cells. In his 1991 autobiography, Gallo ridiculed HIV discoverer Luc Montagnier’s view that the virus causes AIDS only in the company of as yet undiscovered “co-factors.” Gallo argued that “multifactorial is multi-ignorance” and that, because being infected by HIV was “like being hit by a truck,” there was no need to look for additional causes or indirect mechanisms of causation.

All that has changed. As Warner C. Greene, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, explained in the September 1993 Scientific American, researchers are increasingly abandoning the direct cell-killing theory because HIV does not infect enough cells: “Even in patients in the late stages of HIV infection with very low blood T4 cell counts, the proportion of those cells that are producing HIV is tiny–about one in 40. In the early stages of chronic infection, fewer than one in 10,000 T4 cells in blood are doing so. If the virus were killing the cells just by directly infecting them, it would almost certainly have to infect a much larger fraction at any one time.”

Gallo himself is now among those who are desperately looking for possible cofactors and exploring indirect mechanisms of causation. Perhaps the virus somehow causes other cells of the immune system to destroy T-cells or induces the T-cells to destroy themselves. Perhaps HIV can cause immune-system collapse even when it is no long present in the body. As Gallo put it at an AIDS conference last summer: “The molecular mimicry in which HIV imitates components of the immune system sets events into motion that may be able to proceed in the absence of further whole virus.”

But researchers have not been able to confirm experimentally any of the increasingly exotic causal mechanisms that are being proposed, and they do not agree about which of the competing explanations is more plausible. When TheNew York Times interviewed the government’s head AIDS researcher, Anthony Fauci, in February, reporter Natalie Angier summarized his view as a sort of stew of all the leading possibilities: “It [HIV] overexcites some immune signaling pathways, while eluding the detection of others. And though the main target of the virus appears to be the famed helper T-cells, or CD-4 cells, which it can infiltrate and kill, the virus also ends up stimulating the response of other immune cells so inappropriately that they eventually collapse from overwork or confusion.” No other virus is credited with such a dazzling repertoire of destructive skills.

Perhaps it is the HIV scientists who are collapsing from overwork or confusion. The theory is getting ever more complicated, without getting any nearer to a solution. This is a classic sign of a deteriorating scientific paradigm. But as HIV scientists grow ever more confused about how the virus is supposed to be causing AIDS, their refusal to consider the possibility that it may not be the cause is as rigid as ever. On the rare occasions when they answer questions on the subject, they explain that “unassailable epidemiological evidence” has established HIV as the cause of AIDS. In short, they rely on correlation.

The seemingly close correlation between AIDS and HIV is largely an artifact of the misleading definition of AIDS used by the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control. AIDS is a syndrome defined by the presence of one or more of 30 independent diseases–when accompanied by a positive result on a test that detects antibodies to HIV. The same disease conditions are not defined as AIDS when the antibody test is negative. Tuberculosis with a positive antibody test is AIDS; tuberculosis with a negative test is just TB.

The skewed definition of AIDS makes a close correlation with HIV inevitable, regardless of the facts. This situation was briefly exposed at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam in 1992, when the existence of dozens of suppressed “AIDS without HIV” cases first became publicly known. Instead of considering the obvious implications of these cases for the HIV theory, the authorities at the CDC, who had known about some of the cases for years but had kept the subject under wraps, quickly buried the anomaly by inventing a new disease called ICL (Idiopathic CD4+Lympho-cytopenia)–a conveniently forgettable name that means “AIDS without HIV.”

There are probably thousands of cases of AIDS without HIV in the United States alone. Peter Duesberg found 4,621 cases recorded in the literature, 1,691 of them in this country. (Such cases tend to disappear from the official statistics because, once it’s clear that HIV is absent, the CDC no longer counts them as AIDS.) In a 1993 article published in Bio/Technology, Duesberg documented the consistent failure of the CDC to report on the true incidence of positive HIV tests in AIDS cases. The CDC concedes that at least 40,000 “AIDS cases” were diagnosed on the basis of presumptive criteria–that is, without antibody testing, on the basis of diseases such as Kaposi’s sarcoma. Yet these diseases can occur without HIV or immune deficiency. Perhaps some of the patients diagnosed as having AIDS would have tested negative, or actually did test negative, for HIV. Physicians and health departments have an incentive to diagnose patients with AIDS symptoms as AIDS cases whenever they can, because the federal government pays the medical expenses of AIDS patients under the Ryan White Act but not of persons equally sick with the same diseases who test negative for HIV antibodies.

The claimed correlation between HIV and AIDS is flawed at an even more fundamental level, however. Even if the “AIDS test” were administered in every case, the tests are unreliable. Authoritative papers in both Bio/Technology (June 1993) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (November 27, 1991) have shown that the tests are not standardized and give many “false positives” because they react to substances other than HIV antibodies. Even if that were not the case, the tests at best confirm the presence of antibodies and not the virus itself, much less the virus in an active, replicating state. Antibodies typically mean that the body has fought off a viral infection, and they may persist long after the virus itself has disappeared from the body. Since it is often difficult to find live virus even in the bodies of patients who are dying of AIDS, Gallo and others have to speculate that HIV can cause AIDS even when it is no longer present and only antibodies are left.

Just as there are cases of AIDS without HIV, there are cases of HIV-positive persons who remain healthy for over a decade and who may never suffer from AIDS. According to Warner C. Greene’s article in Scientific American, “It is even possible that some rare strains [of HIV] are benign. Some homosexual men in the U.S. who have been infected with HIV for at least 11 years show as yet no signs of damage to their immune systems. My colleaguesÅ and I are studying these long-term survivors to ascertain whether something unusual about their immune systems explains their response or whether they carry an avirulent strain of the virus.”

The faulty correlation between HIV and AIDS would not disprove the HIV theory if there were strong independent evidence that HIV causes AIDS. As we have seen, however, researchers have been unable to establish a mechanism of causation. Nor have they succeeded in confirming the HIV model by inducing AIDS in animals. Chimps have repeatedly been infected with HIV, but none of them have developed AIDS. In the absence of a mechanism or an animal model, the HIV theory is based only upon a correlation that turns out to be primarily an artifact of the theory itself.

In light of the importance of the correlation argument, it is astonishing that no controlled studies have been done for three of the major risk groups: transfusion recipients, hemophiliacs, and drug abusers. Two ostensibly controlled studies involving men’s groups in Vancouver and San Francisco purportedly show that AIDS developed only in the HIV-positive men and never in the “control group” of HIV negatives. These studies were designed not to test the HIV theory but to measure the rate at which HIV-positive gay men develop AIDS. They did not compare otherwise similar persons who differ only in HIV status, did not control effectively for drug use, and did not fully report the incidence of AIDS-defining diseases in the HIV-negative men. The research establishment accepted these studies uncritically because they give the HIV theory some badly needed support. But the main point they supposedly prove has already been thoroughly disproved: AIDS does occur in HIV-negative persons.

According to the official theory, HIV is a virus newly introduced into the American population, which has had no opportunity to develop any immunity. It follows that viral infection should spread rapidly, moving from the original risk groups (gays, drug addicts, transfusion recipients) into the general population. This is what the government agencies confidently predicted, and AIDS advertising to this day emphasizes the theme that “everyone is at risk.”

The facts are otherwise. AIDS is still confined mainly to the original risk groups, and AIDS patients in the United States are still almost 90-percent male. Health-care workers, who are constantly exposed to blood and bodily fluids of AIDS patients, have no greater risk of contracting AIDS that the population at large. Among millions of health-care workers, the CDC claims only seven or eight (poorly documented) cases of AIDS supposedly developed through occupational exposure. By contrast, the CDC estimates that accidental needle sticks lead to more than 1,500 cases of hepatitis infection each year. Even prostitutes are not at risk for AIDS unless they also use drugs.

Far from threatening the general heterosexual population, AIDS is confined mainly to drug users and gay men in specific urban neighborhoods. According to a 1992 report by the prestigious U.S. National Research Council, “The convergence of evidence shows that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is settling into spatially and socially isolated groups and possibly becoming endemic within them.” This factual picture is so different from what the theory predicts, and so threatening to funding, that the AIDS agencies have virtually ignored the National Research Council report and have continued to preach the fiction that “AIDS does not discriminate.”

Not only is AIDS mostly confined to isolated groups in a few U.S. cities, but HIV infection is not increasing. Although a virus newly introduced to a susceptible population should spread rapidly, for several years the CDC has estimated that a steady 1 million Americans are HIV positive. Now it appears that the figure of 1 million is finally about to be revised–downward. According to a story by Lawrence Altman in the March 1 New York Times, new statistical studies indicate that only about 700,000 Americans are HIV positive, and the official estimate will accordingly be reduced sometime this summer.

While HIV infection remains steady at this modest level in the United States, World Health Organization officials claim that the same virus is spreading rapidly in Africa and Asia, creating a vast “pandemic” that threat ens to infect at least 40 million people by the year 2000, unless billions of dollars are provided for prevention to the organizations sounding the alarm. These worldwide figures, especially from Africa, are used to maintain the thesis that “everyone is at risk” in the United States. Instead of telling Americans that AIDS cases here are almost 90-percent male, for example, authorities say that worldwide the majority of AIDS sufferers are female. With the predictions of a mass epidemic in America and Europe failing so dramatically, AIDS organizations rely on the African figures to vindicate their theory.

But these African figures are extremely soft, based almost entirely on “clinical diagnoses,” without even inaccurate HIV testing. What this means in practice is that Africans who die of diseases that have long been common there–especially wasting disease accompanied by diarrhea–are now classified as AIDS victims. Statistics on “African AIDS” are thus extremely manipulable, and witnesses are emerging who say that the epidemic is greatly exaggerated, if it exists at all.

In October 1993, the Sunday Times of London reported on interviews with Philippe and Evelyne Krynen, heads of a 230-employee medical relief organization in the Kagera province of Tanzania. The Krynens had first reported on African AIDS in 1989 and at that time were convinced that Kagera in particular was in the grip of a vast epidemic. Subsequent years of medical work in Kagera have changed their minds. They have learned that what they had thought were “AIDS orphans” were merely children left with relatives by parents who had moved away and that HIV-positive and HIV-negative villagers suffer from the same diseases and respond equally well to treatment. Philippe Krynen’s verdict: “There is no AIDS. It is something that has been invented. There are no epidemiological grounds for it; it doesn’t exist for us.”

Krynen’s remark calls attention to the fact that AIDS is not a disease. Rather, it is a syndrome defined by the presence of any of 30 separate and previously known diseases, accompanied by the actual or suspected presence of HIV. The definition has changed over time and is different for Africa (where HIV testing is rare) than for Europe and North America. The official CDC definition of AIDS in the United States was enormously broadened for 1993 in order to distribute more federal AIDS money to sick people, especially women with cervical cancer. As a direct result, AIDS cases more than doubled in 1993. Absent the HIV mystique, there would be no reason to believe that a single factor is causing cervical cancer in women, Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay males, and slim disease in Africans.

The HIV paradigm is failing every scientific test. Research based upon it has failed to provide not only a cure or vaccine but even a theoretical explanation for the disease-causing mechanism. Such success as medical science has had with AIDS has come not from the futile attempts to attack HIV with toxic antiviral drugs like AZT but from treating the various AIDS-associated diseases separately. Predictions based on the HIV theory have been falsified or are supported only by dubious statistics based mainly on the theory itself. Yet the HIV establishment continues to insist that nothing is wrong and to use its power to exclude dissenting voices, however eminent in science, from the debate.

Like other leaders of the scientific establishment, Nature Editor John Maddox is fiercely protective of the HIV theory. He indignantly rejected a scientific paper making the same points as this article. When Duesberg first argued his case in 1989 in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the editor promised that his paper would be answered by an article defending the orthodox viewpoint. The response never came. The editors of the leading scientific journals have refused to print even the brief statement of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, which has over 300 members. The statement notes simply that “many biomedical scientists now question this hypothesis” and calls for “a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis.”

Such a reappraisal would include the following elements: Genuinely controlled epidemiological studies of all the major risk groups: homosexuals, drug users, transfusion recipients, and hemophiliacs. The studies should employ an unbiased definition of AIDS. Too often we have been told that HIV always accompanies AIDS, only to learn that this is so because AIDS without HIV is named something else. The studies should be performed by persons who are committed to investigating the HIV theory rather than defending it. There is reason to suspect that properly controlled studies of transfusion recipients and hemophiliacs in particular will show that the incidence of AIDS-defining diseases is independent of HIV status.

An audit of the CDC statistics to remove HIV bias and thereby allow unprejudiced testing of the critical epidemiological evidence for the theory. Every effort should be made to determine how many AIDS patients were actually tested for antibodies and the testing method that was employed. Because even the most reliable antibody test generates many false-positive results, researchers should try to validate the tests by examining random samples of AIDS patients to determine whether significant amounts of replicating HIV can be found in their bodies. Statistics have been kept as if the purpose were to protect the HIV theory rather than to learn the truth.

Research focusing on the cause of particular diseases rather than the politically defined hodgepodge of diseases we now call AIDS. The cancer-like skin disease called Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is one of the best-known AIDS-defining conditions, but leading KS and HIV experts Marcus Conant and Robin Weiss now say that dozens of non-HIV KS cases are under study in the United States and that KS is becoming much less frequent in gay male AIDS patients than it formerly was. Conant, Weiss, and other AIDS researchers now frankly attribute KS to an “unknown infectious agent” rather than to HIV, but KS is nonetheless still called AIDS when it occurs in combination with HIV. Duesberg attributes KS in gay males to the use of amyl nitrates (poppers) as a sexual stimulant. His theory is eminently testable, and it ought to be given a fair chance. Another example: Hemophiliacs in the age of AIDS are living longer than they ever did in the past, but they still often die of conditions related to receipt of the blood concentrate called Factor VIII. Research published in The Lancet in February confirms earlier reports that symptoms diagnosed as AIDS are best treated by providing a highly purified form of Factor VIII. Researchers should study the role of blood-product impurities in causing disease in hemophiliacs, without the distortion that comes from arbitrarily assuming that HIV is responsible whenever an HIV-positive hemophiliac becomes ill.

A critical re-examination of the statistics for AIDS and HIV in Africa and Asia. Researchers should perform new, controlled studies of representative African populations to test the relationship of confirmed HIV infection to the incidence of AIDS-defining diseases. It will not do to rely upon “presumptive diagnoses” or extrapolations from single antibody tests that are now well known to generate many false positives.

The HIV establishment and its journalist allies have replied to various specific criticisms of the HIV theory without taking them seriously. They have never provided an authoritative paper that undertakes to prove that HIV really is the cause of AIDS–meaning a paper that does not start by assuming the point at issue. The HIV theory was established as fact by Robert Gallo’s official press conference in 1984, before any papers were published in American journals. Thereafter the research agenda was set in concrete, and skeptics were treated as enemies to be ignored or punished. As a result, the self-correcting processes of science have broken down, and journalists have not known how to ask the hard questions. After 10 yearsof failure, it is time to take a second look.

Charles A. Thomas, a biochemist, is president of the Helicon Foundation in San Diego and secretary of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis. Kary B. Mullis is the 1993 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction technique, for detecting DNA, which is used to search for fragments of HIV in AIDS patients. Phillip E. Johnson is the Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

(HEALTH CARE)

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The replies to the article included a letter from Michael Fumento, calling them conspiracists and saying they ignored evidence.

But like the AIDS alarmists against whom they have rightly aligned themselves, neither Duesberg nor his acolytes are ever going to let a little thing like scientific evidence get in the way.

What Causes AIDS?

The debate continues

In the June issue of Reason, Charles A. Thomas Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and Phillip E. Johnson argued that the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS has been falsified and that it is important to reopen scientific debate on the question. Reason takes no stand on the former conclusion-though the editors believe the article made a strong case-but it strongly supports the latter.

To further that debate, Reason solicited letters from scientists pursuing AIDS research and others with a strong interest in the subject, some of whom responded. We also received numerous letters from readers. A selection is printed here, along with the authors’ reply.

“What Causes AIDS? It’s An Open Question” provided a lucid explanation for skepticism over the role of HIV in AIDS. As an African historian, I am appalled by the unscientific diagnoses of AIDS in Africa and the persistence of Western racist myths about sexual promiscuity on that continent. “What Causes AIDS?” gives my students a valuable introductory source to begin rethinking AIDS in Africa.

As chairman of the History and Philosophy of Science Section for the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), I included Thomas, Mullis, and Johnson at a symposium on “The Role of HIV in AIDS: Why There is Still a Controversy,” which I organized for our June 1994 conference in San Francisco. Even though the symposium was approved by the executive committee of the Pacific Division in January and publicized in division newsletters sent to 30,000 members, the AIDS establishment mounted a behind-the-scenes effort in May to either cancel the symposium or seriously reconfigure it.

The increased desperation of the HIV=AIDS orthodoxy among journalists and within the biomedical research establishment will prompt more attempts to stifle debate. Their efforts to mislead the public through scientific censorship are doomed to failure as long as we can count on courageous publications like REASON.

Charles L. Geshekter

Professor of History

California State University, Chico

Chico, CA

I was glad to see REASON entering the HIV/AIDS fray. My own experience in writing about this subject has convinced me that Thomas, Mullis, and Johnson are right.

Often cited as evidence that HIV, and not drug use, is the real cause of AIDS, is a paper published in Nature, written by Ascher, Sheppard, and Winkelstein. I was surprised to read, in a March 11, 1993, story by Gina Kolata in The New York Times that this Nature article had been written specifically in response to an op-ed piece I had written for the San Francisco Chronicle six months earlier. “Dr. Ascher and his colleagues wrote their paper in response to a challenge by Tom Bethell,” Kolata wrote, quoting Ascher as saying that “Tom Bethell threw down the gauntlet,” forcing them to do the study. I can only say that this must be the first medical study ever written specifically in response to an op-ed piece by a journalist, and then published by Nature. Any doubts that I may have had about the political character of AIDS vanished when I read Kolata’s weird article. The fact is, I am now convinced, AIDS is not a disease at all-it is a government program.

At the June AAAS meeting in San Francisco, Bryan Ellison, a graduate student in Molecular and Cell Biology at U.C. Berkeley, presented a reappraisal of the Ascher study, having obtained the raw data on which it was based. Ascher et al. had examined a cohort of about 1,000 men in San Francisco and had found that, surprise, surprise, all of those who developed AIDS were HIV positive! Once again, however, the definition of AIDS included HIV positivity. The real question was: How many AIDS-defining diseases were to be found in the HIV-negative cohort? Ascher et al. had failed to report this key information. But the raw data from the original survey showed at least 45, and possibly as many as 200, AIDS-related diseases among the HIV-negative men, Ellison told the AAAS gathering.

Tom Bethell

Hoover Institution

Stanford, CA

“What Causes AIDS?” exaggerated some facts out of context to reach outrageous and misleading conclusions.

HIV is a silent, fatal, contagious disease that is in fact spreading now into the heterosexual population, especially adolescents, and the usual public-health strategies that have been employed for decades to halt the spread of the virus have not been applied to this illness due to certain political lobbies. These same groups love to utilize “AIDS” data rather than HIV prevalence since, with a silent 10-year latency, AIDS data tells you what was happening 10 years ago.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control released data from 22 of the 24 states reporting HIV cases (not including California, New York, etc. where rates are highest). For male teenagers, the ratio of HIV to AIDS cases is eight to one. For female teenagers, the ratio is 22 to 1. When you analyze AIDS data, you don’t see the epidemic coming because you’re looking backward, the wrong direction. For Thomas et al. to claim that the virus “remains almost entirely confined to the original risk groups” is untrue and dangerously lackadaisical. Summarizing the recently released CDC data, AIDS Alert, October 1993, concludes, “the fastest growing mode of infection is through heterosexual contact while intravenous drug use has leveled and homosexual transmission has declined.”

Thomas et al. present “evidence” that HIV does not lead to AIDS because many people have HIV without these diseases. This is entirely consistent with the long latency period. And the vast majority of those dying of AIDS have HIV.

The authors wrongly contend that the HIV antibody test is plagued by false positives. The test is extremely sensitive, and final reporting is made specific by the confirmatory Western Blot and other back-up tests. Col. Donald Burke, a research virologist at Walter Reed Hospital, has personally supervised several million HIV blood tests for the routine Army testing of recruits. His statistics demonstrated that HIV testing resulted in less than one false-positive in one million blood tests.

It is frustrating for me to see Thomas et al. use the fascinating mysteries of this disease to bring fuel to the fire of those who have been hindering a prudent scientific approach to this epidemic.

Daniel Cosgrove, M.D.

Palm Springs, CA

As a scientist, albeit not an expert on AIDS, I would like to explain why I did not find the article by Thomas, Mullis, and Johnson to be very convincing. First, it is no surprise that some people who are HIV-negative fall ill with the diseases associated with AIDS (Kaposi’s Sarcoma, certain types of pneumonia, etc.). These diseases are not new. Factors other than HIV virus can damage the immune system and may make individuals susceptible to these, and other, illnesses.

What we have been seeing since the early 1980s is a much larger number of immunodeficient individuals exhibiting a number of hitherto uncommon illnesses, who are also infected with the HIV virus. We also see that a significant number of people lacking the symptoms of AIDS soon develop them after being exposed to the bodily fluids of individuals infected with HIV.

In the absence of any other explanation, simple induction leads us to the conclusion that HIV is either the cause, or part of the cause, of AIDS. True, in the absence of a causal mechanism for AIDS this is not final proof that HIV causes AIDS, but currently it is the best explanation we have.

Second, it is also not surprising that some HIV-positive individuals do not develop the symptoms of AIDS. In the population of millions of HIV-infected individuals, it is to be expected that genetic diversity should ensure that at least some individuals are resistant or even immune to HIV. If this were not so, the plethora of other diseases and plagues that humans were subject to before the discovery of vaccines, antibiotics, and modern medicine would have long since caused our species to become extinct. In this respect, HIV infection should be no different.

If the authors and their intellectual ally, Dr. Peter Duesberg, are convinced that HIV does not cause AIDS, then let them put forth an alternative hypothesis and propose a course of research to determine the true cause of AIDS. Creative research is much more difficult than criticizing the efforts of others.

Ron M. Kagan

Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry

University of California

Los Angeles, CA

Is HIV “a conventional retrovirus with a very simple genetic organization”? Well, most retroviruses can get by with three or four genes, whereas HIV has nine. All other viruses in the subfamily to which HIV belongs (the lentiviruses) are responsible for fatal immune-cell disease in animals (sheep, cattle, horses, cats, monkeys), and scientists have not been able to develop a cure for any of these either.

Was the HIV=AIDS dogma established, without scientific foundation, by a press conference? No. Although considerable publicity was attached to a premature announcement by Dr. Gallo in 1984, there was agreement by consensus, not by fiat. The relevant scientific papers were published a few days later in the May 4 issue of the journal Science and served as confirmatory evidence of the strong association between AIDS and a retrovirus similar to one that had been discovered the year before in a wide variety of AIDS patients by researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France.

Several other investigators in this same time period were also in the process of isolating a virus from their AIDS patients (Karpas in England, Rossi in Italy, Francis in Atlanta, and Levy in San Francisco). All of these viruses, initially called by different names, eventually turned out to be variants of the same virus. The name was not standardized to HIV until 1986.

Is there not “even a theoretical explanation for the disease-causing mechanism”? Of course there is. Although the immune response to the initial HIV infection soon eliminates free virus particles from the bloodstream, it is usually unable to eliminate the virus if it has already infected cells in the organs of the lymphatic system. Once there, the virus slowly propagates from cell to cell like a cancer, gradually infiltrating these organs (the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, tonsils, adenoids, appendix, etc.), many of which are redundant and can withstand a lot of damage before there are any obvious symptoms of impaired function. Blood cells that are susceptible to the virus, called T-helper lymphocytes, continually circulate through the diseased lymphatic organs and are gradually trapped and killed off. The part that is not understood, and for which “increasingly exotic causal mechanisms” have been proposed, is whether the virus kills them directly, or the immune system itself kills them because the mere presence of the virus has made them abnormal.

Are HIV-negative cases of AIDS being ignored or covered up by the medical establishment? Hardly. In 1986, a patient from West Africa with obvious AIDS was found to be negative for HIV. This led to the discovery of a defined AIDS-causing lentivirus now called HIV-2.

Are the opportunistic infections that are characteristic of AIDS sometimes found in the absence of HIV? Of course. They are simply rare in the general population, not non- existent! They were discovered and named long before AIDS came along, and can get the upper hand in anyone whose immune system is temporarily depressed. Thousands of such people “disappear from the official statistics” because they get well, not because the CDC is engaged in some sort of nefarious cover-up.

Nevertheless, since HIV is now so widely used as a diagnostic test for AIDS, the possibility does exist that an epidemic of HIV-negative AIDS could occur without our realizing it from standard statistics. This is why an exhaustive search for HIV-negative patients with profound unexplained immunodeficiency was undertaken in 1992. Less than 100 scattered cases were identified worldwide. They were studied and their disease given a new name (ICL) because their immune abnormalities were found to differ slightly from those typical of AIDS. In any case, the number of such patients compared to the hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients reported around the world is vanishingly small.

If the authors of this article truly believe that there is an epidemic of deaths from sustained immune deficiency that can not be explained by HIV or other known causes, I urge them to avoid the entrenched HIV=AIDS hypothesis by reporting these cases to the CDC as a new disease, rather than attempting to link them to AIDS.

George Fergus

Schaumburg, IL

Thomas, Mullis, and Johnson state that “chimps have repeatedly been infected with HIV, but none of them have developed HIV.” True enough, and none ever will. Chimps are not susceptible to HIV because that virus targets the human, not simian, genome. But chimps infected with the SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus, a virus genetically similar but not identical to HIV) do develop suppressed immune systems and the symptoms of AIDS. It is inexplicable that these writers do not recognize that a chimp’s failure to contract AIDS from HIV no more addresses the consequences of HIV infection in humans than does the human failure to contract feline leukemia virus indicate that cats cannot contract leukemia either.

This impressive display of epidemiological ignorance casts doubt on their ability to interpret evidence wisely, but there’s more.

They say the virus is generally not detectable in people with advanced AIDS; a large body of literature exists confirming that the virus is present and detectable during all stages of the disease. They claim HIV is a simple retrovirus that is not capable of the sophisticated behavior it apparently displays; epidemiologists have described HIV as a complex virus whose full genome is not yet understood.

Thomas, Mullis, and Johnson imply that Warner C. Green in an article in the September 1993 Scientific American acknowledges the supposed tenuous connection between HIV and AIDS. Green does nothing of the sort. In fact, in that article he writes: “I must emphasize that all responsible opinion holds that HIV is indeed the cause of AIDS. A small number of cases of people with immune deficiency who are not infected with HIV received inappropriately widespread publicity last year, which fostered the unsubstantiated notion that there is another cause of AIDS not detected by current blood tests.”

The authors also suggest that causality between HIV and AIDS has not been proven; all we have, they say, is a correlation between the two. Science, however, will never be able to “prove” that HIV causes AIDS any more that it can prove that varicella causes chicken pox. Proving a positive is an impossibility (an assertion can only be disproven). All relationships between viral infections and resulting symptoms are ultimately correlational. (With HIV the authors fail to assert that this correlation is strong; virtually everyone infected with HIV develops AIDS-like symptoms within 10 years.)

HIV may not be the cause of AIDS, but the overwhelming body of evidence tells us otherwise. Suggesting, as the authors do, that the government is standing in the way of finding the real cause of AIDS given the amazing lack of evidence for such a statement is irresponsible. The authors should not have made it, and REASON magazine should not have printed it.

Mark W. Nowak

Arlington, VA

The epidemiologic, laboratory, and clinical evidence that HIV is the cause of AIDS is overwhelming. This evidence has been used as a basis for national and international prevention programs and clinical and vaccine trials.

Thomas et al. mix fact with fiction to misinform readers. For example, the authors suggest that AIDS cases are an artifact of the CDC’s AIDS surveillance case definition, that there are “thousands of cases of AIDS without HIV,” and that “such cases tend to disappear from the official statistics.”

The AIDS surveillance case definition was not designed to prove the existence of HIV. However, it provides additional evidence to what epidemiologic and laboratory studies have already told researchers-that HIV causes AIDS. Case definitions of any disease or health condition are basic tools of public health surveillance. They are devised by epidemic investigators in response to clusters or outbreaks of new or unusual health phenomena. The first CDC AIDS surveillance case definition was developed in response to clusters of patients with unexplained opportunistic infections and Kaposi’s sarcoma in 1981. Patterns identified from early case reports provided convincing evidence that the new syndrome was caused by an infectious agent. This definition has been expanded three times (in 1985, 1987, and 1993) in response to greatly increased knowledge of the immunopathology and health effects of HIV infection; each expansion served to encompass more persons with symptomatic HIV infection. Thus, far from being an artifact, the CDC’s AIDS surveillance case definition is what it was intended to be-a tool to track the many persons in the latter stages of HIV infection.

The authors claimed that there are “thousands of cases of AIDS without HIV.” A small percentage of cases reported to CDC have been in patients who have never had an HIV antibody test. The majority of these cases were diagnosed and reported before the first HIV antibody test was licensed in 1985. These cases were diagnosed based on the presence of “indicator” diseases (mainly Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma) that are very rare in immunocompetent persons not infected with HIV. In addition, their supposition that these cases were further defined as idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia (ICL) is not true. Investigations show that ICL cases and AIDS cases differ epidemiologically. Thus far, researchers have found that ICL is rare, and that no more than 100 of these cases exist.

AIDS cases do not disappear. Missing or incomplete information that accompanies AIDS cases reported to CDC through state health departments is often updated. Most cases reported without risk information are reclassified as follow-up investigations are completed.

The inevitable conclusions of more than a decade of research are that most people exposed to HIV through sexual contact, injecting drugs, or transfusions are susceptible to HIV infection. Nearly all persons who become infected with HIV will eventually develop AIDS.

Surveillance data have been useful in developing prevention and control programs for persons at risk of HIV infection. AIDS prevention programs continue to be based on our understanding of scientifically defined HIV transmission modes because prevention of AIDS is prevention of HIV. To deviate from or ignore this concept would result in an unconscionable tragedy.

Brenda W. Garza

D. Peter Drotman, M.D., M.P.H.

Harold W. Jaffe, M.D.

Division of HIV/AIDS

National Center for Infectious Disease

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Atlanta, GA

“What Causes AIDS?” contains misleading and incorrect information questioning the contagious nature of HIV infection and its causal role for AIDS. This has serious consequences, as this infection almost invariably results in long, painful, terminal illnesses and death. The authors are distinguished in fields far removed from the epidemiology of HIV and AIDS about which they pontificate. Would any of your readers hire an electrician to repair a faulty toilet?

The authors assert, “The only evidence that HIV does cause AIDS is correlation.” Correlation has established the causes of many diseases: smoking and lung cancer, Staphylococcus aureus infection and toxic shock syndrome, and ionizing radiation and leukemia, to name a few. They state, “There are many cases of persons with all the symptoms of AIDS who do not have any HIV infection.” This is not surprising as immune suppression, the underlying cause of AIDS, may result from defective genetic mechanisms, toxic chemical exposures, medicinal treatments, and infections other than HIV. They also assert, “There are also many cases of persons who have been infected by HIVÅ and show no signs of illness.” About half of all HIV-infected persons develop AIDS within 10 years and of these, 90 percent are dead within two years. In studies observing HIV-infected persons for more than 10 years, over 85 percent have developed AIDS.

The authors claim that the San Francisco Men’s Health Study, for which I am “principal investigator,” was “designed not to test the HIV theory but to measure the rate at which HIV-positive gay men develop AIDS. They did not compare otherwise similar persons who differ only in HIV status, did not control effectively for drug use, and did not fully report the incidence of AIDS-defining conditions in the HIV-negative men.” These assertions are misleading or just plain false.

The San Francisco Men’s Health Study is an epidemiological investigation of the cause or causes of AIDS, its transmission, and the natural history of the disease. Participants were a random sample of 1,000 single men living in AIDS-affected areas of San Francisco in 1984. When a serological test for HIV infection became available in late 1984, the participants were tested to determine HIV-infection status. This allowed the investigators to conduct a large number of important analytic studies of causal factors, modes of transmission, and the natural history of HIV infection and AIDS.

An analysis of drug use, AIDS incidence, and progressive immune deficiency, using appropriate statistical techniques and proper controls, was published in 1993. No relationship between drug use and AIDS incidence or immune deficiency progression was found. The advocates of the drug etiology of AIDS have never accepted these findings nor the findings from several other rigorous studies of the drug hypothesis.

Because an AIDS diagnosis is almost invariably followed by death within two years, deaths may be substituted for AIDS diagnoses to evaluate the occurrence of cases among the uninfected. In the San Francisco Men’s Health Study, 581 participants, who were uninfected by the HIV on entry, remained uninfected for over eight years. Among them, eight deaths occurred, for a cumulative rate of 1.4 percent. Of the 400 men infected by the HIV, 169 deaths occurred, for a cumulative rate of 42.3 percent. These data are inconsistent with the contention that there were AIDS cases among the uninfected.

Space precludes a complete refutation of the other misstatements which burden the article. The readers of REASON magazine should not be misled about the consequences of HIV infection. As indicated above, these consequences are very serious. Regardless of whether or not HIV infection causes AIDS, it is a strong predictor of premature death.

Warren Winkelstein Jr., M.D., M.P.H.

Professor of Epidemiology (emeritus)

School of Public Health

University of California

Berkeley, CA

It has now been over three years since I first challenged Peter Duesberg and a co-writer that if they really don’t believe HIV causes AIDS they should publicly inject themselves with the virus. It would hardly be the first time a doubter of a pathogen-disease hypothesis has intentionally exposed himself. Nevertheless, Duesberg and fellow have steadfastly refused to do so and neither have any of Duesberg’s vocal followers volunteered to take their place. They won’t shoot up, but as their article “What Causes AIDS? It’s An Open Question,” shows, they won’t shut up, either.

To address just a few major points:

They write that “after spending billions of dollars, HIV researchers are still unable to explain how HIV, a conventional retrovirus with very simple genetic organization, damages the immune system, much less how to stop it.”

Only three retroviruses have been discovered, the first barely over a decade ago. How does one become “conventional”? The authors want us to believe that because it is “conventional” and simple genetically it should have been cured by now, but all viruses are genetically simple and we have cures for none of them. What will make curing HIV all the harder is that it is so very unconventional in that unlike any other human virus we know about, it attacks the very immune system and to date our disease-fighting tools have always relied on the immune system as an ally.

As to how it damages the immune system, there are numerous medical journal articles on the subject, the latest in the June 2 issue of Nature. This doesn’t mean we understand how HIV works in the same way that we understand, say, internal combustion in a piston engine. Human physiology is infinitely more complicated than a motor. Still, we certainly know more about the actions of HIV than we do about most viruses simply because HIV has been so heavily studied. Finally on this point, knowing the cause and knowing the cure may have little or no relationship. For hundreds of years, people knew that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer, yet the cure rate for lung cancer even today is dismal.

The authors state, “In the absence of any agreement about how HIV causes AIDS, the only evidence that HIV does cause AIDS is correlation.” Aside from ignoring the medical literature, they fail to recognize that epidemiology has always been about correlation. Long before there were electron microscopes, cell lines, and the National Institutes of Health, epidemiologists were identifying diseases and saving millions of lives from them based strictly on careful observance of who was getting sick and why. Walter Reed didn’t have the least idea of what yellow fever did on a cellular level, but he saw that it was transmitted by mosquitoes and he was thus able to practically eliminate it. Edward Jenner developed the first anti-viral vaccine a century before anyone knew what a virus was.

The conspiracists cavalierly dismiss the San Francisco study, reported on in Nature, along with the Vancouver one, reported on in the Lancet, without providing any detail on them. Here is a brief summary of the San Francisco one. Researchers directly tested the Duesberg thesis that “either drug consumption (frequently associated with malnutrition) by recently established behavioral groups or conventional clinical deficiencies are necessary and sufficient to cause indicator diseases of AIDS.” They compared a set of heterosexuals who were heavy drug users and were negative for HIV with homosexuals who were heavy drug users who were both positive and negative for the virus. Reporting their results in the March 11, 1993 issue of Nature, they found that among homosexuals who were seropositive at the beginning of the study, over half had contracted AIDS and most had died. Among the homosexuals who were negative in the beginning and stayed negative, about 2 percent had died but none had been diagnosed with AIDS even when HIV status was excluded as part of the AIDS definition. Among the heterosexuals, less than 1 percent had died and none had gotten AIDS. In addition to devastating the drug-use-causes-AIDS thesis, this study showed as close a correlation between pathogen and disease as one could ever hope to attain. ,P>All this means nothing to the REASON authors. Forget those studies; they weren’t set up to our exact specifications, they say. No, and none ever could be. Besides, they say, “the main point they supposedly prove has already been thoroughly disproved: AIDS does occur in HIV-negative persons.” But no, it doesn’t. Certainly one can get diseases that resemble AIDS, just as one can get a disease that resembles the flu. (How often do we hear of someone suffering a “flu-like illness”?) A chronic cough and expectoration of blood can be symptomatic for bronchitis, tuberculosis, or lung cancer. It doesn’t mean these are all the same disease. As the authors themselves point out, the definition of AIDS symptoms covers a wide area. Certainly, it’s not difficult for other diseases to mimic that which some AIDS patients may be suffering. This doesn’t make them AIDS cases any more than a bloody cough makes TB be lung cancer.

Among hundreds of thousands of sufferers of any given disease there will be a tremendous spectrum in manifestation of symptoms and plenty of anomalies, but with HIV there is a strong pattern of disease progression. After a few years of infection persons begin to lose T-helper cells, then begin to develop outward manifestations of immune dysfunction such as oral candidiasis, then begin to suffer life-threatening diseases such as pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Outside of persons given immune-suppressing drugs, PCP is remarkably rare, so much so that prior to the AIDS epidemic the CDC was dispensing fewer than 100 prescriptions of pentamidine (at that time the only treatment for the disease) a year. In 1993, however, there were over 12,000 confirmed PCP diagnoses and another 7,000 suspected cases, all in HIV-positive persons. In other words, if you don’t have HIV your odds of getting PCP are one in several millions. If you do have it, your odds before the introduction of aerosolized pentamidine as a preventative treatment were better than 50- 50. Even now, they may be better than one in four. What an amazing coincidence.

HIV cohorts have shown that after about 10 years of infection, half of all persons will be dying while almost all of the rest will be suffering severe symptoms. The authors make much of the fact that some HIV carriers remain healthy even after 11 years of infection. As always, they ignore the rule for the exception, making us think the edge of the bell curve is the top. Probably no pathogen known kills with 100 percent efficacy; indeed, about 90 percent of persons carrying the bacteria that causes tuberculosis will never manifest the disease. An even smaller percentage will suffer symptoms from infection with cytomegalovirus. Indeed, the correlation between HIV and manifestation of symptoms, and the correlation between HIV and death, may prove to be stronger than that for any pathogen present in the human population.

Much of what the authors say is unquestionably true, and just as unquestionably doesn’t support their case.

Certainly there are co-factors that increase the rate at which HIV decimates the immune system, co-factors that if blocked might greatly increase the length and quality of life for persons with HIV. Co-factors commonly play a role in disease causation. But nobody says that because mycobacterium tuberculosis appears to work with co-factors to manifest as TB that mycobacterium tuberculosis isn’t the cause of the disease. The reason? Because you can have those co-factors, but without the mycobacterium, you don’t get TB. Just so with HIV and AIDS. Further, quite the opposite of what the Duesberg conspiracists would have us think, scientists have already been devoting a tremendous amount of research to finding HIV co-factors, albeit with precious little to show for the effort.

And yes, certainly the African AIDS epidemic has been overstated, with every fatal disease under the African sun being dubbed AIDS because that seems to be the only disease West- erners care about. But this does nothing to support the conspiracists’ hypothesis. Likewise, I was writing about-and staking my reputation on-the exaggeration of the American epidemic, especially with regards to middle-class heterosexuals, long before the authors published word one on the subject. I did so by analyzing patterns of both cases and infections. I noted back in 1989 that since stored blood samples indicated that HIV infections appear to have peaked out in American cities around 1981 and 1982 and since it takes on average about 10 years for an AIDS infection to manifest, the epidemic was probably on the verge of peaking. Indeed, the CDC noted recently (to the deafening silence of the media), that using the pre-1993 definition of the disease, AIDS cases did decline in 1992.

Of course I have now become one of the AIDS conspirators-that group of persons so callous and vicious that we are willing to let hundreds of thousands of Americans alone die of this horrible disease. That or I’ve just closed my mind like a steel trap, like John Maddox supposedly has. “Like other leaders of the scientific establishment,” write the conspiracists, “Nature editor John Maddox is fiercely protective of HIV theory. He indignantly rejected a scientific paper making the same point as this article.”

In fact, toward the end of Rethinking AIDS, a Duesberg conspiracy book, author Robert Root-Bernstein crowed: “John MaddoxÅ has written that he should have given critics of the HIV theory, such as Peter Duesberg, room to express their concerns.” So he did. It was only after the aforementioned 1993 Nature article, along with two other Nature articles discussing how HIV causes AIDS, that Maddox editorialized, “Duesberg, having led many people with AIDS on a seductive path, should now admit the likelihood that he is mistaken.”

But like the AIDS alarmists against whom they have rightly aligned themselves, neither Duesberg nor his acolytes are ever going to let a little thing like scientific evidence get in the way.

Michael Fumento

St. Petersburg, FL

(Michael Fumento is the author of The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS.)

Charles A. Thomas Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and Phillip E. Johnson reply: Many things have happened since our article was written, all of them supportive of our position. Here are some highlights:

1) Harvard Professor Bernard Fields published a commentary in Nature that signalled, in the words of The New York Times, that “a new consensus has emerged among many leading scientists that the nation’s $1.3 billion AIDS research program is on the wrong track.” Planned trials of candidate vaccines have been abandoned as unpromising and dangerous because, according to Fields, “We still have too many serious gaps in our fundamental knowledge to know how to prevent and treat AIDS, and must return to a broader base to study the scientific questions confronting us.”

The primary gap, of course, is the absence of anything but speculation to explain how an ordinary retrovirus can be killing billions of immune cells that it doesn’t even infect. (That the PCR technique can find genetic sequences associated with HIV — not active virus — in lymph nodes does nothing to solve the mystery.) Unfortunately, Fields’s back-to-the- drawing board stance, which has been endorsed by top NIH officials, does not imply any real reconsideration of the HIV dogmas that have brought the researchers to this dead end. It means only that some of the AIDS money will be diverted to general biochemical research that is only tangentially related to AIDS.

2) Another Harvard professor and member of the HIV inner circle, Max Essex, published with African colleagues a paper in the Journal of Infectious Disease detailing an extremely high incidence of false positive results among both leprosy patients and their uninfected neighbors on HIV antibody tests. In a group of 57 leprosy patients, for example, 70 percent tested positive for antibodies but more extensive testing confirmed the presence of HIV in only 2 patients. The paper concluded that, due to an unexpectedly high rate of false positives on both the ELIZA and Western Blot tests, these standard antibody tests “may not be sufficient for HIV diagnosis in AIDS-endemic areas of Central Africa where the prevalence of mycobacterial diseases is quite high.” These results clearly call into question all projections about HIV infection in Africa and elsewhere that are based on antibody testing.

Antibody tests may be more reliable as an indicator of HIV infection in relatively healthy groups like U.S. Army recruits. Our critics misunderstand this subject, however. Both the ELIZA and the Western Blot are antibody tests, not tests for active, replicating virus. Both have also been shown to cross-react with things other than HIV antibodies. To say as Daniel Cosgrove does that the “HIV antibody test” is confirmed by the Western Blot in many cases is merely to say that two faulty antibody tests have produced consistent results.

3) A study by Mulder et al. for the British National Research Council (published in Lancet) has been misleadingly cited by CDC officials and others as proof that a pandemic, caused by HIV, is raging through Africa. The study actually does show that, in a Ugandan village population, persons registering positive on the antibody test had a much higher death rate than antibody-negative persons, especially in the age group 25-34. What the HIV propaganda does not say is that the subjects did not die of AIDS. Of 64 deaths of persons aged 25 to 34, only 5 were diagnosed as AIDS under the very broad “Bangui” (African) definition, which requires only conditions like sustained weight loss and persistent diarrhea. Severely diseased persons are likely to have many microbes in their system, including HIV and other things that produce positive results on the inaccurate antibody tests. That this study of non-AIDS deaths was claimed to support the HIV theory of AIDS and the existence of an African AIDS pandemic is eloquent testimony to the closed mindset that rules the HIV research community.

4) A conference on nitrite inhalants (poppers), held under the auspices of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in May 1994 was attended by such HIV kingpins as Robert Gallo and Harold Jaffe-and dissenter Peter Duesberg. Participants acknowledged that the data do not support the claim that HIV is the sole or even the primary cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) in gay males. This concession is particularly remarkable because KS is still officially one of the prime AIDS-defining conditions, and many gays with KS have been classified as having “HIV disease” on “presumptive” criteria that do not require antibody testing.

The problem with the HIV/KS hypothesis is that there are dozens of known cases of KS in young gay males who have never been HIV infected, and KS is very rare among non-gay HIV positives. Even the HIV stalwarts now admit that the primary cause of KS must be some agent that is specific to gay men, such as a still-undiscovered sexually transmitted microbe specific to gays, or poppers. Thus while evidence pointing to poppers as a causative factor in KS is ridiculed by the HIV propagandists, the research community is increasingly finding the evidence impossible to ignore.

5) Mounting evidence indicates that what is called “AIDS” in hemophiliacs is caused not by HIV but by the (curable) effect of foreign proteins from treatment with unpurified Factor 8, the blood coagulant that saves hemophiliacs from an early death due to prolonged internal bleeding.

The way the good news about hemophiliacs is expressed in an HIV-obsessed research culture is by lengthening the “latency period,” a statistical fudge-factor that is different in every risk group and can be adjusted as necessary to explain why so many HIV-positive people are not sick. A recent British study of 111 hemophiliacs showed that so many fewer than anticipated are suffering immune system failure that 25 percent are predicted to be “AIDS free” for 20 years or more.

What is helping hemophiliacs to avoid immune deficiencies is not harmful and ineffective antiviral drugs, but new purified blood products that do not contain foreign proteins. Highly purified Factor 8 has proved so effective in protecting the immune systems of hemophiliacs that some HIV-minded researchers are thinking of employing it against “HIV disease” in non-hemophiliacs. (Complete details on the hemophiliac studies are provided in a forthcoming paper by Duesberg in Genetica.)

This use of the latency period (and mysterious “genetic immunity”) to explain away the many healthy HIV positives explains, by the way, why it would prove nothing for Duesberg or anyone else to inject himself with the virus and survive. If he lived 50 years longer and died at 110, HIV science would conclude only that the latency period is sometimes unusually long, or perhaps that Duesberg was one of the lucky folk with genetic immunity. (As for ourselves, we stick to scientific evidence and have no interest in showmanship.)

We find a similar use of this convenient fudge factor in Daniel Cosgrove’s argument that the latency period accounts for why nearly 90 percent of AIDS cases are still male in North America and Europe, despite changes in the definition of the syndrome aimed at including more women. That excuse gets thinner every year as confident predictions based upon the “everyone is at risk” ideology fail to come true. We quote again the important finding of the National Research Council: “The convergence of evidence shows that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is settling into spatially and socially isolated groups and possibly becoming endemic within them.” This is the opposite of what the HIV theory predicted.

6) The Tenth Annual International AIDS Conference in Yokohama in August 1994 was the last of its kind. The annual gathering of the multitudes who make their living from HIV will be skipped next year, because HIV science is at a virtual standstill and there is nothing of importance to announce. The great breakthrough touted in Yokohama was a study claiming a reduction in the rate of infant HIV infection when expectant mothers and babies were given AZT. The study was terminated abruptly, as has happened with earlier AZT studies that began to show favorable results at an early stage.

In consequence a highly toxic drug that is known to be ineffective and positively harmful in antibody-positive adults will be given routinely to unborn and newborn infants with antibody-positive mothers, although most of these infants would never be HIV infected anyway. The uncertain benefit and great risk would make such a reckless course of conduct unimaginable in normal circumstances, but the AZT lobby backed by HIV hysteria has the power to overrule the prudent standards that protect the public from other dangerous and unproven drugs.

What the Yokohama conference lacked in science it more than made up in scare stories and plans for worldwide social engineering to protect Asia and Africa from depopulation. (As Tom Bethell says, AIDS is not so much a disease as an open-ended government program.) The media as usual reported uncritically the claims that HIV infection is increasing rapidly everywhere in Asia and Africa and that the relatively low number of AIDS cases actually reported is just the tip of the iceberg.

What the media did not report is that the same virus that is supposed to be newly infecting millions of people every year in regions where reliable statistics are hard to come by has been stable in the U.S. population ever since testing began, almost 10 years ago. Every year the AIDS agencies ominously report that “1 million people are now infected with HIV,” and the reporters never point out that the figure was exactly the same the year before and the year before that. We call upon the CDC to confirm or deny what The New York Times reported months ago-which is that the most reliable studies show that the actual total number of antibody-positive Americans is well under one million, and not rising. The thoroughly researched American figures utterly contradict the inflated claims about HIV infection rates in Asia and Africa-unless we indulge the kind of racist speculation about non-white sexual habits that Charles Geshekter rightly denounces in his letter.

As one of us (Mullis) has frequently commented, there is no paper in the scientific literature that reviews all the relevant evidence and establishes that HIV is the cause of AIDS. George Fergus to the contrary notwithstanding, the original papers announcing the discovery of HIV in 1984 said only that HIV had been found in some (not all) of a small group of AIDS patients. No proof was presented, but Dr. Gallo and his fellow virologists seemed so confident that the research community wrongly assumed that they had the proof. Once that assumption was set in concrete as the foundation for funding, critics could no longer be tolerated.

Instead of a paper that takes the objections seriously and undertakes to prove the point at issue, we find only polemics that assume the HIV theory and defend it against specific criticisms with question-begging arguments. Mark Nowak, for example, says that the failure of HIV to cause AIDS in the many chimps who have been deliberately infected with the virus says nothing about whether HIV causes AIDS in humans. Our point was that one of the recognized ways of proving that a virus does cause a disease in humans is to cause the disease in animals by infecting them with the virus, and such efforts have failed with HIV. The chimps do get HIV infection, just like humans, and HIV does no damage to their immune systems. Why not? To say as Mark Nowak and the HIV scientists do that “HIV does not cause AIDS in chimps” is merely to restate the question.

The absence of an animal model is not cured by tall tales about the so-called simian immunodeficiency virus. SIV does not cause a syndrome like AIDS in animals. The distinctive and improbable claim of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is that the HIV supposedly damages the immune system only after the immune system has successfully countered the primary infection and reduced viral activity to negligible levels. “SIV disease” follows the primary infection closely, and does not occur after a latency period of ten years during which viral activity in the blood is practically non-existent. It also occurs only in laboratory animals, who tend to have weakened immune systems already. The same retrovirus is found in wild populations causing no ill effects. Other claims of “lentiviruses” causing diseases in animals many years after infection are also controverted in the scientific literature, and may reflect the enthusiasm of virus hunters to attribute disease conditions to the viruses they have discovered.

Because of the absence of an animal model, or plausible mechanism for T-cell destruction by an inactive virus, the whole case for HIV causation rests on correlation. But very sick persons with damaged immune systems carry many microbes, and it is impossible with correlation studies alone to prove that a particular microbe is the effective cause of the syndrome rather than a mere “passenger.” To distinguish cause from effect, studies must be carefully controlled. Above all, the syndrome must be defined in a way that does not prejudice the outcome. But the CDC’s response to our article admits that AIDS is defined as a range of disease conditions accompanied by real or suspected HIV infection, so that HIV causation is presumed in the definition of the syndrome. The CDC’s response, translated from the bureaucratese, is simply “that is how we do it around here.” Use of a biased definition that assumes the very correlation to be proved is professional malfeasance on its face.

Things are even worse than that. Tens of thousands of cases of persons with diseases like KS (this is the “small percentage” to which the CDC refers) have been diagnosed on presumptive criteria without antibody tests, and this practice is still allowed. Duesberg’s estimate of several thousand American cases of AIDS without HIV comes from examples in the medical literature where individuals were diagnosed with AIDS on the basis of disease conditions or immune deficiencies and then the diagnosis was reversed when HIV was not found. We consider this estimate conservative, because in logic every person with a condition that would be diagnosed as AIDS if an antibody test were positive (like tuberculosis, for example) is a case of AIDS without HIV. The CDC acknowledges only 100 or so cases because it employs a much narrower definition of “AIDS” when HIV is not present than when it is, and it then dismisses the remaining cases because they “differ epidemiologically” from AIDS-meaning apparently that they are not linked to HIV! That the CDC does not understand the need to define the syndrome independently of the hypothesized cause is further evidence that their experts never did the epidemiological work impartially in the first place.

That brings us to the San Francisco study defended by Warren Winkelstein, which supports a correlation between AIDS-defining diseases and HIV, but not drugs, in a population of San Francisco men. Tom Bethell’s letter points out that this study was vigorously criticized at the AAAS meeting in San Francisco in June. We are prepared to pursue this criticism in an appropriate scientific forum. For present purposes, readers need to understand primarily that Winkelstein and Michael Fumento are misrepresenting the scientific method. Epidemiology (i.e., correlation) is a useful tool for identifying a possible causative agent, and especially for rejecting impossible ones, but to prove cause on this basis alone is unwarranted. Fumento’s example of yellow fever is instructive. Walter Reed’s mosquito hypothesis was confirmed by his success in eliminating the disease. HIV causation could be confirmed by similar success, or by a demonstration of the mechanism of causation, or by meeting Koch’s postulates, the traditional rules for confirming a causation hypothesis. If the mosquito hypothesis had produced no results after 10 years of trying, Walter Reed would no doubt have been wise enough to consider other possibilities.

There are three reasons for using correlation as an indicator rather than as sufficient proof of causation in itself. First, even if the putative cause (HIV) is highly correlated with the syndrome (one or more of 30 AIDS-defining diseases), correlation studies cannot tell us whether or not the true cause is a third factor or combination of factors which is correlated with HIV. Gay men in San Francisco who are HIV positive, for example, are also likely to have a lot else in common. The correlation would be much more convincing if it were equally strong in all populations, which is why we recommend strictly controlled studies in all the risk groups, and especially in Africa.

Second, it is naive to present HIV correlation studies as if they were naked data lying around for some unbiased scientist to interpret. The HIV hypothesis was fixed in concrete as “scientific fact” by Dr. Gallo’s 1984 press conference, and the studies that followed, including the Winkelstein and Schechter studies, were performed by researchers who never questioned the ruling paradigm and would have lost their grants if they had. A multi- billion-dollar research industry will always be able to produce studies by true believers that support its position; the amazing thing is that the HIV industry has to rely so heavily upon two studies of North American men’s groups.

To bring up the reality of bias is not to question the integrity of any individual scientist. It is merely to point out that the reason “double blind” studies are essential in medicine is that even the best doctors tend to see what they expect to see-and systematically fail to see what they do not want to see. When we learn that the NIH and CDC’s epidemiologists saw nothing wrong with using a biased definition of AIDS (diseases plus real or suspected HIV) in conducting the studies that supposedly established the correlation, we are on notice to be skeptical of everything they say.

Third, AIDS as officially defined is a complex syndrome defined differently on different continents, and manifesting different disease symptoms in different risk groups. The point is not merely whether HIV causes something, or even something serious. It does seem to cause flu symptoms in some persons during the initial infection, when it is multiplying freely in the blood stream and is easy to find. A positive reaction on antibody tests does seem highly correlated in certain populations of gay men with some of the diseases grouped together as “AIDS.” This kind of information may have been sufficient to identify HIV as a suspect, but it is not sufficient to justify disregarding everything else we have learned that puts the HIV theory in doubt. HIV clearly is not the sole or primary cause of KS, despite the status of KS as one of the most important AIDS-defining diseases. There is ample reason to question whether HIV infection causes a spectrum of 30 or so diseases many years later by a mechanism that no one can determine when it often can hardly be found at all. It is highly unlikely that the same virus causes some diseases mainly in men in North America, and different diseases in men and women equally elsewhere. An epidemiological study of a group of San Francisco (or Vancouver) men is inherently incapable of validating a theory that encompasses so many contradictions and anomalies.

We do not necessarily dispute Winkelstein’s conclusion that, at least in certain populations, “Regardless of whether or not HIV infection causes AIDS, it is a strong predictor of premature death.” Persons who are sick from a lot of different things tend to have a lot of different things in their bloodstream, and some of these cause positive reactions on HIV antibody tests. Our skepticism about the HIV hypothesis should not encourage anyone to engage in risky behavior. We mainly agree with the HIV doctors about prudent health rules, except insofar as they would tell people that they may use poppers and similar recreational drugs without fear of damage to their immune systems.

We would merely add that prudent people should especially avoid poisons like AZT and related drugs, which destroy immune system cells and other cells and provide no demonstrable benefit. They should rise up in outrage against dogmatists who want to administer AZT to pregnant women and infants when no adequately controlled studies have been performed to justify this reckless medical practice. They should start questioning loosely supported claims about the spread of HIV in Asia and Africa, and they should demand that impartial, controlled studies be performed to determine what is really going on.

Fumento to the contrary notwithstanding, we do not urge anyone to “forget” any studies or to ignore any evidence. Our point is that the rethinking of HIV science that the top NIH officials admit is necessary is meaningless unless they also reconsider the basic diagnosis. Our research program is simple: Perform the unbiased, carefully controlled epidemiological studies in all risk groups that should have been done in the first place. Employ an unbiased definition of AIDS. Don’t assume the HIV hypothesis and defend it with ad hoc arguments and fudge factors; test its various claims impartially. Why is this scientific common sense resisted so bitterly?

It was not unreasonable for the molecular biologists and the epidemiologists to consider HIV a suspect back in 1984. They all assumed that Dr. Gallo had caught HIV in the act of destroying the immune system, and a high percentage of the cases under study did have something in their blood that reacted positively to the antibody tests. But a lot has changed since 1984.

It turns out that HIV isn’t really doing anything observable to the immune system, that predictions based on the HIV theory are continually being falsified, that the HIV stalwarts rely more and more on the least reliable statistics, that the antibody tests aren’t reliable indicators of HIV activity in the bloodstream, and that even researchers dedicated to proving a perfect correlation between HIV and AIDS have to admit to a lot of nonconforming examples.

Ten years after 1984, the question is whether a biomedical research establishment that jumped prematurely to a conclusion wants to re-examine that conclusion by proper scientific methods and learn the truth, or whether it would prefer to keep its mistakes hidden as long as possible.

(HEALTH CARE)

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How Rian Malan sniffed out the rat in South African AIDS

August 4th, 2005

Rian Molan’s Nov 2001 Rolling Stone article on the South African AIDS mirage exposed the fiction in the ‘facts’

Appropos of the global AIDS (non) pandemic issue, it seems worth asking this question. Which would you rather believe on AIDS, the New York Times or the Rolling Stone?

The AIDS reporters at the Times are headed by Lawrence Altman, who has consistently hewed to the party line with rare exceptions where he actually notes some of the smaller anomalies of mainstream AIDS thinking.

Perhaps this is because he was trained at the CDC, and is therefore unlikely to contradict that institution too often, despite its atrocious performance on AIDS and AIDS statistics, which mathematician Serge Lang of Yale has trashed so thoroughly in his book Challenges (Springer-Verlag New York 1998) and in Lang Files, mailed around the country to key journalists including Altman.

Rolling Stone on the other hand achieved the following remarkable report in 2001, which states that AIDS in South Africa (then said by UNAIDS to be running at 17 million Africans dead of AIDS and 25 million more with HIV, with one in four South African adults infected) was a no show. Couldn’t be found. Didn’t seem to exist. No AIDS epidemic.

What? Yes, Rian Molan, a South African novelist of some repute, was asked by Jan Wenner of Rolling Stone to do a nice report on AIDS in South Africa in all its gory glory, and apparently was promised enough ready money and expenses to set out with great confidence and enthusiasm to do same. But almost immediately he ran into a problem: where were all the AIDS patients? According to everybody’s belief and the news media reports domestic and international. there should have been so many of them the sick should have been littering the sidewalks of Capetown and the Soweto shantytowns and kraals of that fair country (the climate is roughly equivalent to European countries of the same latitude).

But nada. Ryan couldn’t find the epidemic. Yes, there were plenty of patients sick and dying but no more than there had ever been, as far as he could find. Even the coffin makers were complaining. Where was all the booming business they had been led to expect?

Molan emailed Wenner to this effect and was told not to worry, the AIDS epidemic was surely there, just keep going. So he did. To no avail. Finally, he had the bright idea of going to check the death statistics of South Africa. Well, what d’ya know? They hadn’t budged by any significant amount that didn’t reflect the burgeoning population growth that South Africa in common with the rest of the sub-Sahara has enjoyed for the past quarter century.

In other words, no bulge. So, no discernible AIDS epidemic. And no payment to Molan, it looked like. But Wenner said, Well, write the story anyway. and he did. And this is it below, if you care to read it. But don’t tell anyone you read it, at least not before finding out whether they are a fully paid up member of the AIDS orthodoxy. For in general, such corrective heresy does not go down too well with HIV supporters.

As indeed Rian Molan’s wife clearly appreciated. As Molan later told it, she stood behind him with a rolling pin as he typed threatening to whack him over the noggin if he continued to write such subversive thoughts.

Here are a few sample paragraphs to whet the appetite of those readers who find reading more than a hundred words at a time on the Web daunting. Let us say one thing, though: Rian’s article is the best quick survey of the problems with the “global AIDS pandemic” available anywhere. You’ll see exactly why, among other things, HIV testing in Africa is a farce.

A statistical non-epidemic

Geneva’s computer models suggested that AIDS deaths here had tripled in three years, surging from 80,000-odd in 1996 to 250,000 in 1999. But no such rise was discernable in total registered deaths, which went from 294,703 to 343,535 within roughly the same period. The discrepancy was so large that I wrote to make absolutely sure I had understood these numbers correctly. Both parties confirmed that I had, and at that exact moment, my story was in trouble. Geneva’s figures reflected catastrophe. Pretoria’s figures did not.

How scientists really behave

There was a time when I imagined medical research as an idealized

endeavor, carried out by scientists interested only in truth. Up close, it turns out to be much like any other human enterprise, riven with envy, ambition and the standard jockeying for position. Labs and universities depend on grants, and grant making is fickle, subject to the vagaries of politics and intellectual fashion, and prone to favor scientists whose work grips the popular imagination. Every disease has champions who gather the data and proclaim the threat it poses. The cancer fighters will tell you that their crisis is deepening, and more research money is urgently needed. Those doing battle with malaria make similar pronouncements, as do those working on TB, and so on, and so on. If all their claims are added together, you wind up with a theoretical global death toll that “exceeds the number of humans who die annually by two- to threefold,” said Christopher Murray, a World Health Organization director.

No one for the coffins

One newspaper account I found told of a company called Affordable Coffins, purveyor of cheap cardboard caskets, which had more orders than it could fill. But the firm was barely two months old when the story ran, and two rival entrepreneurs who launched similar products a few years back had gone under. “People weren’t interested,” said a dejected Mr. Rob Whyte. “They wanted coffins made of real wood.” So I called the real-wood firms, three industrialists who manufactured coffins on an assembly line for the national market. “It’s quiet,” said Kurt Lammerding of GNG Pine Products. His competitors concurred – business was dead, so to speak. “It’s a fact,” said Mr. A. B. Schwegman of B&A Coffins. “If you go on what you read in the papers, we should be overwhelmed, but there’s nothing. So what’s going on? You tell me.”

How the WHO cook up the stats

.. the WHO devised an alternative, by which Africa’s AIDS statistics are now primarily based. It works like this: On any given morning anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, you’ll find crowds of expectant mothers ling up outside government prenatal clinics, waiting for a routine checkup that includes the drawing of a blood sample to test for syphilis.

According UNAIDS, “anonymous blood specimens left over from these tests are tested for antibodies to HIV,” a ritual that usually takes place once a year. The results are fed into a computer model that uses “simple back-calculation procedures” and knowledge of “the well-known natural course of HIV infection” to produce statistics for the continent In other words, AIDS researchers descend on selected clinics, remove the leftover blood samples and screen them for traces of HIV The results are forwarded to Geneva and fed into a computer program called Epi-model: If a given number of pregnant women are HIV-positive, the formula says, then a certain percentage of all adults and children are presumed to be infected, too. And if that many people are infected, it follows that a percentage of them must have died. Hence, when UNAIDS announces 14 million Africans have succumbed to AIDS, it does not mean 14 million infected bodies have been counted. It means that 14 million people have theoretically died, some of them unseen in Africa’s swamps, shantytowns and vast swaths of terra incognita.

It’s malaria, stupid

It seemed something was confounding the tests, and the prime suspect was plasmodium falciparum, one of the parasites that causes malaria: Of the twenty-one subjects who tested positive, sixteen had had recent malaria infections and huge levels of antibody in their veins. The researchers tried an experiment: They formulated a preparation that absorbed the malaria antibodies, treated the blood samples with it, then retested them. Eighty percent of the suspected HIV infections vanished. The researchers themselves admitted that these findings were inconclusive. Still, considering that Africa is home to an estimated ninety percent of the world’s malaria cases, the implications of the report seemed intriguing.

And TB

Back in 1994, Max Essex, head of the Harvard AIDS Institute, and some colleagues of his observed a “very high” (sixty-three percent) rate of ELISA false positives among lepers in central Africa. Mystified, they probed deeper and pinpointed the cause: two cross-reacting antigens, one of which, lipoarabinomannan, or LAM, also occurs in the organism that causes TB. This prompted Essex and his collaborators to warn that ELISA results should be “interpreted with caution” in areas where HIV and TB were co-endemic. Indeed, they speculated that existing antibody tests “may not be sufficient for HIV diagnosis” in settings where TB and related diseases are commonplace.

Bumping up the numbers to no avail

A year later, I decided to return to my point of departure to see if the discrepancy persisted. I wrote to the country’s Department of Home Affairs, which manages the death register, and asked for the latest numbers. In response came a set of figures somewhat different from those initially provided – the consequence, I am told of people who died without any identity documents. Here is the final analysis:

Deaths registered in 1996 – 363,238.

Deaths registered in 2000 – 457,335.

As you see, registered deaths have indeed risen – not to the extent prophesied by the United Nations, perhaps, but there is definite movement in an ominous direction. Deaths are up across the board, but concentrated in certain critical age groups: females in their twenties, and males age thirty to thirty-nine.A team of experts commissioned by the Medical Research Council has studied this changing death pattern and found it to be “largely consistent with the pattern predicted by [ours] and other models of

the AIDS epidemic.” Their conclusion: AIDS has become the “biggest cause” of mortality in South Africa, responsible for forty percent of adult deaths. And yet, and yet, and yet, even this is not the end of our tale, because another governmental body, Stats SA, has challenged these findings. The Washington Post reported that the South African census bureau called the MRC study “badly flawed,” saying “the samples were

not representative, and assumptions about the probability of the transmission of the virus that causes AIDS were not necessarily accurate.”

The shockingly inadequate method

The UNAIDS computer model of Africa’s epidemic is in fact completely dependable, Dr. Schwartlander says because it relies on a “very

simple formula. You take the pregnancy-clinic numbers. You take the

median survival time – around nine years in Africa. You say this is roughly the distribution curve. Calculation of deaths is completely plausible if – and this is important – you have a good idea of the prevalence of HIV and how it spreads over time.” Why then, I asked, do we have so many different estimates of AIDS deaths in South Africa? “I’m not shocked,” he said. “The models may completely disagree at a particular point in time, but in the end the curves look incredibly similar. They’re goddamn consistent.”

If that’s true, I said, then why would we have 457,000 registered deaths here last year when the UN says 400,000 of them died of AIDS? One of those numbers must be wrong.

Note that Molan, even though he implies Thabo Mbeki may be on the right track in his suspicions, never quite gets to the stage of accepting or even imagining that HIV might not cause anything at all, and the whole puzzle easily resolved by simply throwing out this problematical paradigm, and instead of what may be a vast process of reinterpreting all these other sources of human sickness and death such as malaria and TB, and calling them AIDS, simply recognize them for what they are: Not AIDS but TB, Not AIDS but malaria, etc.

In other words, you don’t have to be an “HIV denialist” to see that the whole African pandemic is a crock. But you do lack an answer as to what the heck is going on.

Here is the whole classic tale, which essentially went nowhere in terms of rocking the HIV=AIDS boat, possibly because Jan Wenner runs into Mathilde Krim too often on the dinner party circuit in Manhattan.:

eprinted from RollingStone Magazine, November 22, 2001

AIDS in Africa: In Search of the Truth

By Rian Malan

“The frightening numbers were all that mattered. Once they were shown

to be accurate, further debate would be rendered obscene. So I set

out to confirm the death toll. I thought it would be easy—my first

mistake…”

===

1. MY FIRST MISTAKE

Africa’s era of mega death dawned in the fall of 1983, when the chief

of internal medicine of a hospital in what was then Zaire sent a

communiqué to American health officials, informing them that a

mysterious disease seemed to have broken out among his patients. At

the time, the United States was being convulsed by its own weird

health crisis. Large numbers of gay men were coming down with an

unknown disease of extraordinary virulence, something never seen in

the West before. Scientists called it GRID, an acronym for

Gay-Related Immune Deficiency. Political conservatives and holy men

called it God’s vengeance on sinners. American researchers were thus

intrigued that a similar syndrome had been observed in heterosexuals

in Africa. A posse of seasoned disease cowboys was convened and sent

forth to investigate.

On October 18th, 1993, they walked into Kinshasa’s Mama Yemo

Hospital, led by Peter Piot, 34, a Belgian microbiologist who had

been to the institution years earlier, investigating the first

outbreak of Ebola fever. A change was immediately apparent. “In 1976,

there were hardly any young adults in orthopedic wards,” Piot told a

reporter. “Suddenly – boom – I walked in and saw all these young men

and women, emaciated, dying.” Tests confirmed his worst

apprehensions: The mysterious new disease was present in Africa, and

its victims were heterosexual. When researchers started looking for

the newly identified human immunodeficiency virus, it turned up

almost everywhere – in eighty percent of Nairobi prostitutes,

thirty-two percent of Ugandan truck drivers, forty-five percent of

hospitalized Rwandan children. Worse, it seemed to be spreading very

rapidly. Epidemiologists plotted figures on graphs, drew lines

linking the data points and gaped in horror. The epidemic curve

peaked in the stratosphere. Scores of millions – maybe more – would

die unless something was done.

These prophecies transformed the destiny of AIDS. In 1983, it was a

fairly rare disease, confined largely to the gay and heroin-using

subcultures of the West. A few years later, it was a threat to all of

humanity itself. “We stand nakedly before a pandemic as mortal as any

there has ever been,” World Health Organization chief Halfdan Mahler

told a press conference in 1986. Western governments heeded his

anguished appeal for action. Billions were invested in education and

prevention campaigns. According to the Washington Post, impoverished

AIDS researchers suddenly had budgets that outstripped their spending

capacity. Nongovernmental AIDS organizations sprang up all across

Africa – 570 of them in Zimbabwe, 300 in South Africa, 1,300 in

Uganda. By 2000, global spending on AIDS had risen to many billions

of dollars a year, and activists were urging the commitment of many

billions more, largely to counter the apocalypse in Africa, where 22

million were said to carry the virus and 14 million to have died of

it.

And this is about where I entered the picture – July 2000, three

months after South African President Thabo Mbeki announced that he

intended to convene a panel of scientists and professors to

re-examine the relationship between the human immunodeficiency virus

and AIDS. Mbeki never exactly said AIDS doesn’t exist, but his action

begged the question, and the implications were mind-bending. South

Africa was said to have more HIV infections (4.2 million) than any

other country on the planet. One in five adults were already

infected, and the toll was rising daily. As his words sank in,

disbelief turned to derision.

“Ludicrous,” said the Washington Post.

“Off his rocker,” said the Spectator.

“A little open-mindedness is fine,” said Newsday. “But a person can

be so open-minded, his brains can fall out.”

The whole world laughed, and I rubbed my hands with glee: South

Africa was back on the world’s front pages for the first time since

the fall of apartheid; fortune awaited the man of action. I went to

see a friend who happens also to be an AIDS epidemiologist. He was so

enraged by what he called the “genocidal stupidity” of Mbeki’s

initiative that he’d left work and gone home, where I found him

slumped in depression. “Hey,” I said, snap out of it. Let’s make a

deal.” And so we did: He’d talk, I’d type, and together we’d tell the

inside story of Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS fiasco. All that remained was to

consider to consider the evidence that had led our leader astray.

According to newspaper reports, Mbeki had gleaned much of what he

knew from the Web, so I revved up the laptop and followed him into

the virtual underworld of AIDS heresy, where renegade scientists

maintain Web sites dedicated to the notion that AIDS is a hoax,

dreamed up by a diabolical alliance of pharmaceutical companies and

“fascist” academics whose only interest is enriching themselves. I

visited several such sites, noted what they had to say, and then

turned to Web sites maintained by universities and governments, which

offered crushing rebuttals. Can’t say I understood everything,

because the science was deep and dense, but here’s the gist:

Look at AIDS from an African point of view. Imagine yourself in a mud

hut, or maybe a tin shack on the outskirts of some sprawling city.

There’s sewage in the streets, and refuse removal is nonexistent.

Flies and mosquitoes abound, and your drinking water is probably

contaminated with feces. You and your children are sickly,

undernourished and stalked by diseases for which you’re unlikely to

receive proper treatment. Worse yet, these diseases are mutating,

becoming more virulent and drug-resistant. Minor scourge such as

diarrhea and pneumonia respond sluggishly to antibiotics. Malaria now

shrugs off treatment with chloroquine, which is often the only drug

for it available to poor Africans. Some strains of tuberculosis –

Africa’s other great killer – have become virtually incurable. Now

atop all this is AIDS.

According to what you hear on the radio, AIDS is caused by a tiny

virus that lurks unseen in the blood for many years, only to emerge

in deep disguise: a disease whose symptoms are other diseases, like

TB, for instance. Or pneumonia. Running stomach, say, or bloody

diarrhea in babies. These diseases are not new, which is why some

Africans have always been skeptical, maintaining that AIDS actually

stands for “American Idea for Discouraging Sex.” Others say nonsense,

the scientists are right; we’re all going to die unless we use

condoms. But condoms cost money and you have none, so you just sigh

and hope for the best.

Then one day you get a cough that won’t go away, and you start

shedding weight at an alarming rate. You know these symptoms. In the

past, you could take some pills and they would usually go away. But

the medicines don’t work anymore. You get sicker and sicker. You wind

up in the AIDS ward.

The orthodox scientists, if they could see you lying there, would say

your immune system has been destroyed by HIV, allowing the

tuberculosis (or whatever) to run riot. The dissidents would say no

way – the virus is a harmless creature that just happens to accompany

immune-system breakdown caused by other factors, in this case a

lifetime of hunger and exposure to tropical pathogens.

Incensed by this, the orthodoxy whistles up a truckload of studies

from all over Africa showing that HIV-positive hospital patients die

at astronomical rates relative to their HIV-negative counterparts.

The dissidents claim to be unimpressed. This proves nothing, they say

except that dying hospital patients carry the virus.

The orthodoxy grits its teeth. There’s only one way to crush these

rebels, and that’s to show that AIDS is a new disease that has caused

a massive increase in African mortality, which is of course the truth

as we know it: 22 million Africans infected, with 14 million more

already dead from it.

These frightening numbers were all that mattered, it seemed to me.

Once they were shown to be accurate, further debate would be rendered

obscene, and Thabo Mbeki would be guilty as charged, a fool who’d

allowed himself to be swayed by a tiny band of heretics universally

dismissed as wackos, fringe lunatics and scientific psychopaths. So I

set out to confirm the death toll. Just that. I thought it would be

easy – a call or two, maybe a brief interview. I picked up the phone.

It was my first mistake.

2. A Forbidden Thought

There was a time when I imagined medical research as an idealized

endeavor, carried out by scientists interested only in truth. Up

close, it turns out to be much like any other human enterprise, riven

with envy, ambition and the standard jockeying for position. Labs and

universities depend on grants, and grant making is fickle, subject to

the vagaries of politics and intellectual fashion, and prone to favor

scientists whose work grips the popular imagination. Every disease

has champions who gather the data and proclaim the threat it poses.

The cancer fighters will tell you that their crisis is deepening, and

more research money is urgently needed. Those doing battle with

malaria make similar pronouncements, as do those working on TB, and

so on, and so on. If all their claims are added together, you wind up

with a theoretical global death toll that “exceeds the number of

humans who die annually by two- to threefold,” said Christopher

Murray, a World Health Organization director.

Malaria kills around 2 million humans a year, roughly the same number

as AIDS, but malaria research currently gets only a fraction of the

resources devoted to AIDS. Tuberculosis (1.7 million victims a year)

is similarly sidelined, to the extent that there were no new TB drugs

in development at all as of 1998. AIDS, on the other hand, is

replete, employing an estimated 100,000 scientists, sociologists,

caregivers, counselors, peer educators and stagers of condom

jamborees. Until the attacks of September 11th diverted the world’s

anxieties (and charity dollars), the level of funding for AIDS grew

daily as foundations, governments and philanthropists such as Bill

Gates entered the field, unnerved by the bad news, which usually

arrived in the form of articles describing AIDS as a “merciless

plague” of “biblical virulence,” causing “terrible depredation” (as

Time recently put it) among the world’s poorest people.

These stories all originate in Africa, but the statistics that

support them emanate from the suburbs of Geneva, where the World

Health Organization has its headquarters. Technically employed by the

United Nations, WHO officials are the world’s disease police,

dedicated to eradicating illness. They crusade against old scourges,

raise the alarm against new ones, fight epidemics, and dispense

grants and expertise to poor countries. In conjunction with UNAIDS

(the joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, based at the same

Geneva campus), the WHO also collects and disseminates information

about the AIDS pandemic.

In the West, the collection of such data is a fairly simple matter:

Almost every new AIDS case is scientifically verified and reported to

government health authorities, who inform the disease police in

Geneva. But AIDS mostly occurs in Africa, where hospitals are thinly

spread, understaffed and often bereft of the laboratory equipment

necessary to confirm HIV infections. How do you track an epidemic

under these conditions? In 1985, the WHO asked experts to hammer out

a simple description of AIDS, something that would enable bush

doctors to recognize the symptoms and start counting cases, but the

outcome was a fiasco – partly because doctors struggled to diagnose

the disease with the naked eye, but mostly because African

governments were too disorganized to collect the numbers and send

them in. Once it become clear that the case-reporting system wasn’t

working, the WHO devised an alternative, by which Africa’s AIDS

statistics are now primarily based.

It works like this: On any given morning anywhere in sub-Saharan

Africa, you’ll find crowds of expectant mothers ling up outside

government prenatal clinics, waiting for a routine checkup that

includes the drawing of a blood sample to test for syphilis.

According UNAIDS, “anonymous blood specimens left over from these

tests are tested for antibodies to HIV,” a ritual that usually takes

place once a year. The results are fed into a computer model that

uses “simple back-calculation procedures” and knowledge of “the

well-known natural course of HIV infection” to produce statistics for

the continent In other words, AIDS researchers descend on selected

clinics, remove the leftover blood samples and screen them for traces

of HIV The results are forwarded to Geneva and fed into a computer

program called Epi-model: If a given number of pregnant women are

HIV-positive, the formula says, then a certain percentage of all

adults and children are presumed to be infected, too. And if that

many people are infected, it follows that a percentage of them must

have died. Hence, when UNAIDS announces 14 million Africans have

succumbed to AIDS, it does not mean 14 million infected bodies have

been counted. It means that 14 million people have theoretically

died, some of them unseen in Africa’s swamps, shantytowns and vast

swaths of terra incognita.

You can theorize at will about the rest of Africa and nobody will

ever be the wiser, but my homeland is different – we are a

semi-industrialized nation with a respectable statistical service.

“South Africa,” says Ian Timaeus, London School of Hygiene and

Tropical Medicine professor and UNAIDS consultant “is the only

country in sub-Saharan Africa where sufficient deaths are routinely

registered to attempt to produce national estimates of mortality from

this source.” He adds that, “coverage is far from complete,” but

there’s enough of it to be useful – around eight of ten deaths are

routinely registered in South Africa, according to Timaeus, compared

to about 1 in 100 elsewhere below the Sahara.

It therefore seemed to me that checking the number of registered

deaths in South Africa was the surest way of assessing the statistics

from Geneva, so I dug out the figures. Geneva’s computer models

suggested that AIDS deaths here had tripled in three years, surging

from 80,000-odd in 1996 to 250,000 in 1999. But no such rise was

discernable in total registered deaths, which went from 294,703 to

343,535 within roughly the same period. The discrepancy was so large

that I wrote to make absolutely sure I had understood these numbers

correctly. Both parties confirmed that I had, and at that exact

moment, my story was in trouble. Geneva’s figures reflected

catastrophe. Pretoria’s figures did not. Between these extremes lay a

gray area populated by local experts such as Stephen Kramer, manager

of insurance giant Metropolitan’s AIDS Research Unit, whose own

computer model shows AIDS deaths at about one-third Geneva’s

estimates. But so what? South African actuaries don’t get a say in

this debate. The figures you see in your newspapers come from Geneva.

The WHO takes pains to label these numbers estimates only, not

rock-solid certainties, but still, these are estimates we all accept

as the truth.

But you don’t want to hear this, do you? Nor did I. It spoiled the

plot, so I tried to ignore it. Since it was indeed true that the very

large numbers of South Africans were dying, then the nation’s coffin

makers had to be laboring hard to keep pace with growing demand. One

newspaper account I found told of a company called Affordable

Coffins, purveyor of cheap cardboard caskets, which had more orders

than it could fill. But the firm was barely two months old when the

story ran, and two rival entrepreneurs who launched similar products

a few years back had gone under. “People weren’t interested,” said a

dejected Mr. Rob Whyte. “They wanted coffins made of real wood.”

So I called the real-wood firms, three industrialists who

manufactured coffins on an assembly line for the national market.

“It’s quiet,” said Kurt Lammerding of GNG Pine Products. His

competitors concurred – business was dead, so to speak.

“It’s a fact,” said Mr. A. B. Schwegman of B&A Coffins. “If you go on

what you read in the papers, we should be overwhelmed, but there’s

nothing. So what’s going on? You tell me.”

I couldn’t, although I suspected it might have something to do with

race. Since the downfall of apartheid, in 1994, illegal backyard

funeral parlors have mushroomed in the black townships, and my

sources couldn’t discount the possibility that these outfits were

scoring their coffins from the underground economy. So, I called a

black-owned firm, Mmabatho Coffins, but it had gone out of business,

along with some others I tried calling. This was getting seriously

weird. The death rate had almost doubled in the past decade,

according to a recent story in South Africa’s largest newspaper.

“These aren’t projections,” said the Sunday Times. “These are the

facts.” And if the facts were correct, I thought, someone somewhere

had to be prospering in the coffin trade.

Further inquiries led me to Johannesburg’s derelict downtown, where a

giant multistory parking garage has recently been transformed into a

vast warren of carpentry workshops, each housing a black carpenter,

set up in business with government seed money. I wandered around

searching for coffin makers, but there were only two. Eric Borman

said business was good, but he was a master craftsman who made one or

two deluxe caskets a week and seemed to resent the suggestion his

customers were the sort of people who died of AIDS. For that, I’d

have to talk to Penny. Borman pointed, and off I went, deeper and

deeper into the maze. Penny’s place was locked up and deserted.

Inside, I saw unsold coffins stacked ceiling-high, and a forlorn

CLOSED sign hung on a wire.

At that moment, a forbidden thought entered my brain. This may sound

crazy to you, thousands of miles away, but put yourself in my shoes.

You live in Africa – OK, in the post-colonial twilight of

Johannesburg’s once-white suburbs, but still, close enough to the

AIDS front line. For years, experts tell you that the plague is

marching down the continent, coming ever closer. At first nothing

happens, but there dawns a day when the HIV estimates start rising

around you, and by 2000 the newspapers are telling you that one in

five adults on your street is walking dead.

This has to be true, because it’s coming from experts, so you start

looking for evidence. Laston, the gardener at Number 10, is

suspiciously thin, and has a hacking cough that won’t go away. On the

far side of the golf course, Mrs. Smith has just buried her beloved

servant. Mr. Beresford’s maid has just died, too. Your cousin Lenny

knows someone who owns a factory where all the workers are dying.

Your newspapers are regularly predicting that the economy will surely

be crippled, and schooling may soon collapse because so many teachers

have died.

But then you find yourself staring into Penny’s failed coffin

workshop and you think, Jesus, maybe something is wrong here…

Is this likely? Look, I believe that AIDS exists and it’s killing

Africans. But as many as all the experts tell us? Hard to say. In my

suburb, I can assure you, people’s brains are so addled by death

propaganda that we automatically assume almost everyone who falls

seriously ill or dies has AIDS, especially if they’re poor and black.

But we don’t really know for sure, and nor do the sufferers

themselves, because hardly anyone has been tested. “What’s the

point?” asks Laston, the ailing gardener. He knows there’s no cure

for AIDS, and no hope of obtaining life-extending anti-retrovirals.

Last winter, he came down with a bad cough, and everyone said it was

AIDS, but it wasn’t – come summer, Laston got better. Then Stanley

the bricklayer became our street’s most likely case. Stan maintained

he had a heart condition, but behind his back, everyone was

whispering, “Oh, my God, it’s AIDS.” But was it? We had no idea. We

were playing a game, driven by hysteria.

No one wanted to hear this. Worried friends slipped newspaper

clippings into my mailbox: CEMETERY OVERFLOWS…. HOSPITALS

OVERWHELMED…. PRISON DEATHS UP 535 PERCENT. I checked out all the

evidence, but often there was some other possible explanation, like

cut-price burial plots or a TB epidemic in the overcrowded jails or a

funding crisis in government hospitals. After months of this, even my

mother lost patience. “Shut up!” she snapped. “They’ll put you in a

straitjacket.” Mother knows best, but I just couldn’t get those

numbers out of my head: 294,703 registered deaths in 1996, 343,535

four years later. I called my friend the AIDS epidemiologist and

said, “Listen, I am beset by demons and heresies, can you not save

me?” So we had lunch, and I aired my doubts, whereupon he pointed in

the direction where truth lay, and I set out to find it.

3. A Bell is Rung

And here we are on a hilltop on the equator, overlooking the

landscape where Africa’s first recorded outbreak of AIDS took place.

It’s a village called Kashenye, which lies on the border between

Uganda and Tanzania, close to where the Kagera River flows into Lake

Victoria. In 1979 or thereabouts, according to local legend, a trader

crossed the river in a canoe to sell his wares in Kashenye. Business

done, he bought some beers and relaxed in the company of a village

girl. Some time later, she fell victim to a wasting disease that

refused to respond to any known medication, Western or tribal.

Not long after, according to Edward Hooper in his book Slim, a

similar drama unfolded in Kasensero, a fishing village over on the

Uganda side of the river. There the first victim was also a local

girl, and the agent of infection was said to have been a visitor from

Kashenye. In due course, several more citizens of Kashenye contracted

the wasting disease. Their neighbors cried foul, accusing Kashenye of

putting a hex on them. Kashenye responded with similar allegations.

Soon, villagers on both banks of the river were discarding objects

brought from the other side, believing them to be bewitched. But

nothing helped. By 1983, the contagion was in all the cities on the

Western shore of Lake Victoria. Within a few years the region became

known as the epicenter of Africa’s AIDS epidemic, and Ugandan

president Yoweri Museveni was predicting that “apocalypse” was

imminent.

His prophecy was based largely on testing done among small groups of

high-risk subjects. Many factors were unknown, however, including the

true extent of infection in the general populace, the rate at which

it was spreading, the speed at which it killed. To formulate an

effective battle plan, AIDS researchers desperately needed more data

in these areas.

They cast around for a place to study, and lit on the Masaka district

in Uganda, a ramshackle area just west of Lake Victoria and probably

100 miles north of Ground Zero. The rate of infection there among

adults was not particularly high – just more than eight percent – but

there were other considerations making it a good place to study: The

district was politically stable, and there was an international

airport three hours away. In 1989, a Dutch epidemiologist named Daan

Mulder began to lay the groundwork for what would ultimately become

the longest and most important study of its kind in Africa.

Assisted by an army of field workers, Mulder drew a circle around

fifteen villages outside Masaka and proceeded to count every

resident. Then he took blood from all those who were willing – 8,833

out of 9,777 inhabitants – screened it for HIV infections and sat

back to see what happened. Every household was visited at least once

a year, and every death was noted and entered into Mulder’s database,

along with the deceased’s HIV status.

The first results were published in 1994, and they were devastating.

The HIV-infected villagers of Masaka were dying at a rate fifteen

times higher than their uninfected neighbors. Young adults with the

virus in their bloodstream were sixty times more likely to perish.

Overall, HIV-related disease accounted for a staggering forty-two

percent of all deaths. The AIDS dissidents were crushed, HIV theory

was vindicated. “If there are any left who will not even accept

[this],” commented the U.S. Centers for Disease Control upon the

release of the results, “their explanation of how HIV-seropositivity

leads to early death must be very curious indeed.”

Clearly, only a fool would second-guess such powerful evidence, so I

just visited the villages where Mulder’s work was done, verified what

he’d found and headed back toward the airport, my story about Mbeki’s

stupidity back on track. But on my way I spent an hour or two in

Uganda’s Statistics Office, and what I learned there changed things

yet again.

In 1948, Uganda’s British rulers attempted a rough census in the

Masaka area and concluded that the annual death rate was “a minimum

of twenty-five to thirty per thousand.” A second census, in 1959, put

the figure at twenty-one deaths per thousand. By 1991, it had fallen

to sixteen per thousand. Enter Daan Mulder with his blood tests,

massive funding and armies of field workers. He counted every death

over two years, and then five, and here is his conclusion: The crude

annual death rate in Masaka, in the midst of a horrifying AIDS

plague, was 14.6 per thousand – the lowest ever measured.

I was relieved to discover that there was another possible

interpretation of these statistics. Daan Mulder’s work began at a

time when Uganda was emerging from two decades of terror and chaos.

Doctors had fled the country, hospitals had collapsed and nobody kept

track of mortality trends in the dark years of the Seventies and

Eighties. According to British statistician Andrew Nunn, one of

Mulder’s collaborators, disease-related rates must have fallen to

all-time low levels in the Seventies, when no one was counting, and

then surged massively with the advent of AIDS around 1980.

“In fact,” says Nunn, “evidence suggests it’s epidemic.” (Mulder

himself cannot be asked to explain his findings – he has since died

of cancer.)

Nunn’s explanation may be so, but the same can’t apply to neighboring

Tanzania, which embarked in 1992 on an even larger mortality study.

Like Mulder’s, it was funded by the British government and supported

by scientists from the British universities. The Adult Morbidity and

Mortality Project recruited 307,912 participants, each of whom was

visited at least once a year in the next three years and questioned

about recent deaths or disease. The final results were rather like

Masaka’s: AIDS was the leading reported cause of adult mortality, but

the average death rate in the communities studied was 13.6 per

thousand – ten percent lower than the death rate measured in the

census of 1988, which was rated “close to 100 percent” complete by

Dr. Timaeus, the UNAIDS consultant. Timaeus is a leading authority on

African mortality in the AIDS era, and it was to him that my

difficult question ultimately fell.

Professor Timaeus,” I said in his London office, “this study appears

to show that there was no increase in the death rate between 1988 and

1995, in the heart of Tanzania’s AIDS epidemic.”

He shrugged. “This survey covered only part of the country,” he said.

“True,” I said, “but a fairly large part, with hundreds of thousands

of participants.”

“But were they representative?” he countered.

I had no idea. Timaeus smiled and said, “I think this is the more

critical evidence.”

Whereupon he produced a sheath of graphs and papers and laid them on

the table. There was, he said, a “regrettable” lack of knowledge

about mortality trends in Africa, attributable to “inertia,”

indifference and a crippling lack of up-to-date data. These factors

bedeviled the demographer, but Timaeus said he knew of several ways

around them, most dramatic of which is the so-called sibling-history

technique of mortality estimation. It works like this:

Since 1984, researchers financed by the U.S. Agency for International

Development have conducted detailed health interviews with several

thousand mothers in developing countries worldwide. Among the

questions put to them are these: How many children did your mother

have? How many are still alive? When did the others die? Timaeus

realized that close analysis of the answers might reveal trends that

were failing to show up elsewhere. He set to work, and published the

results in the journal AIDS in 1998. “In just six years (1989-1995)

in Uganda,” he wrote, “men’s death rates more than doubled.” Similar

trends were revealed in Tanzania, he reported, where “men’s deaths

apparently rose eighty percent” in the same period.

Again, this seemed to settle the matter, but again, there were

puzzling complications. For a start, Timaeus’ study coincided with

Daan Mulder’s epic mortality study, which ran for seven years without

detecting any significant change in the death rate. The same is true

of Tanzania’s giant adult-mortality survey, which fell in the heart

of the period when Timaeus says male mortality was surging upward but

which failed to document any such thing.

Could there have been some problem with Timaeus’ data? Kenneth Hill

is the Johns Hopkins university demographer who helped conceive the

sibling-history technique. Recently, he and his team embarked on a

worldwide evaluation of its performance in the field, to check on its

accuracy. Last year, an article co-authored by Hill reported that the

method was prone to something called, “downward bias” – meaning that

people remember recent deaths pretty clearly, but those from years

back tend to fade. According to the article, which appeared in

Studies in Family Planning, this usually leads to a false impression

of rising mortality rates as you near the present. This has happened

even in counties where there was little or no AIDS. In Namibia, for

instance, the sibling method detected a 156 percent rise in the

fourteen years prior to 1992, when the country’s HIV infection rate

ranged from zero to one percent. “This lack of precision,” Hill and

his associate wrote, “precludes the use of these data for trend

analysis.”

“I disagree,” said Timaeus, who believes they got their math wrong.

Neither Hill nor any members of his team wanted to respond on the

record, but I drew one of them into a conversation on another subject.

“Do you accept the high levels of HIV infection being reported by

Geneva?” I asked.

“I don’t have much faith,” he said. “It’s essentially a modeling

exercise, and the exercise has always seemed to have a political

dimension.”

That rung a bell. I was living in Los Angeles in 1981, when the very

first cases of GRID were detected. I knew men who were stricken, and

I sympathized entirely with their desperation. They wanted government

action and knew there would be little as long as the disease was seen

as a scourge of queers, junkies and Haitians. So they forged an

alliance with powerful figures in science and the media and set forth

to change perceptions, armed inter alia with potent slogans such as

“AIDS is an equal-opportunity killer” and “AIDS threatens everyone.”

Madonna, Liz Taylor and other stars were recruited to drive home the

message to the straight masses: AIDS is coming after you, too.

These warnings were backed up by estimates such as the one issued by

the CDC in 1985, stating that 1.5 million Americans were already

HIV-infected, and the disease was spreading rapidly. Dr Anthony

Fauci, now head of the National Institute of Allergic and Infectious

diseases, prophesied that “2 to 3 million Americans” would be

HIV-positive within a decade. Newsweek’s figures in a 1986 article

were at least twice as high. That same year, Oprah Winfrey told the

nation that “by 1990 one in five” heterosexuals would be dead of

AIDS. As the hysteria intensified, challenging such certainties came

to be dangerous. In 1988 New York City Health Commissioner Stephen C.

Joseph reviewed the city’s estimate of HIV infections, concluded that

the number was inaccurate and halved it, from 400,000 to 200,000. His

office was invaded by protesters, his life threatened. Demonstrators

tailed him to meetings, chanting, “Resign, resign!”

In hindsight, Dr. Joseph’s reduced figure of 200,000 might itself be

an exaggeration, given that New York City has recorded a total of

around 120,000 AIDS cases since the start of the epidemic two decades

ago. In 1997, a federal health official told the Washington Post that

by his calculation, the true number of HIV infections in the United

States back in the mid-Eighties must have been around 450,000 – less

than one-third of the figure put forth at the time by the CDC.

If the numbers could be gotten so wrong in America, what are we to

make of the infinitely more dire death spells cast upon the

developing world? In 1993, Laurie Garrett wrote in her book The

Coming Plague that Thailand’s AIDS epidemic was “moving at

super-sonic speed.” It has stalled at just below two percent,

according to UNAIDS. In 1991 All India Institute of Medical Sciences

official Vulmiri Ramalingaswami said AIDS in India “was sitting on

top of a volcano,” but infection levels there have yet to crest one

percent. The only place where the AIDS apocalypse has materialized in

its full and ghastly glory is in Geneva’s computer models of the

African pandemic, which show millions dead and far worse coming.

Why Africa, and Africa only? I now know a possible reason. Read on.

4. “Crap!” An Expert Declares

In many ways, the story of AIDS in Africa is a story of the gulf

between rich and poor, the privileged and the wretched. Here is one

way of calibrating the abyss.

Let’s say you live in America, and you committed an indiscretion with

drugs and needles or unprotected sex a few years back, and now find

yourself plagued by ominous maladies that won’t go away. Your doctor

frowns and says you should have an AIDS test. She draws a blood

sample and sends it to a laboratory, where it is subjected to an

exploratory ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test. The ELISA

cannot detect the virus itself, only the antibodies that mark its

presence. If your blood contains such antibodies, the test will

“light up,” or change color, whereupon the lab tech will repeat the

experiment. If the second ELISA lights up, too, he’ll do a

confirmatory test using the more sophisticated and expensive Western

Blot method. And if that confirms the infection, the Centers for

Disease Control recommends that the entire procedure be repeated

using a new blood sample, to put the outcome beyond all doubt.

In other words, we’re talking six tests in all, doubly confirmed.

Such a protocol is probably foolproof, but as you draw away from the

First World, health-care standards decline and people grow poorer,

meaning that confirmatory tests become prohibitively expensive. In

Johannesburg, for instance, a doctor in private practice will

typically want three consecutive positive ELISAs before deciding that

you are HIV-positive. But his counterpart in a government-sponsored

testing center has to settle for two ELISA tests.

In the annual pregnancy-clinic surveys on which South Africa’s

terrifying AIDS statistics are based, the protocol is one ELISA only,

unconfirmed by anything. In America one ELISA means almost nothing.

“Persons are positive only when they are repeatedly reactive by ELISA

and confirmed by Western Blot,” says the CDC. The companies that

manufacture ELISAs agree: The tests must be confirmed by other means.

“Repeatedly reactive specimens may contain antibodies” to HIV, one

firm’s literature says, “Therefore additional, more specific tests

must be run to verify a positive result.”

In parts of Africa, however, at least for the purpose of data

gathering, such precautions are deemed unnecessary. That’s partly

because the World Health Organization itself actually evaluates

commercial HIV tests as they come on the market. In these trials, new

tests are measured against a panel of several hundred blood samples

from all over the world. Some of the samples are HIV-positive, some

are not. The ELISAs are tested to make sure they can tell which are

which. Among the scores of brands evaluated throughout the years, a

handful have proved to be useless. But those manufactured by

established biotechnology corporations usually pass with flying

colors, typically scoring accuracy rates close to perfect.

In South Africa, such outcomes were often cited in furious attacks on

President Mbeki. “HIV tests such as the latest-generation ELISA are

now more than ninety-nine percent accurate.” reported the Weekly Mail

and Guardian. The tests have confidence levels of 99.9 percent, said

professor Malegapuru Makoba, head of the Medical Research Council.

Science had spoken, and science was unanimous: The tests were fine,

and Mbeki was a fool, according to the Weekly Mail, “trying to be a

Boy’s Own basement lab hero of AIDS science.”

It was a good line. I laughed, too, but there came a moment when it

ceased to be funny.

My education in the complexities of the ELISA test started when I

came across an article in a scientific journal published last year.

It told a story that began in 1994, when researchers ran HIV tests on

184 high-risk subjects in a South African mining camp. Twenty-one of

the subjects came up positive or borderline positive on at least one

ELISA. But the results were confusing: A locally manufactured test

indicated seven, but different people in almost every case. A French

test declared fourteen were infected.

It seemed something was confounding the tests, and the prime suspect

was plasmodium falciparum, one of the parasites that causes malaria:

Of the twenty-one subjects who tested positive, sixteen had had

recent malaria infections and huge levels of antibody in their veins.

The researchers tried an experiment: They formulated a preparation

that absorbed the malaria antibodies, treated the blood samples with

it, then retested them. Eighty percent of the suspected HIV

infections vanished.

The researchers themselves admitted that these findings were

inconclusive. Still, considering that Africa is home to an estimated

ninety percent of the world’s malaria cases, the implications of the

report seemed intriguing. I asked Dr. Luc Noel, the WHO’s

blood-transfusion-safety chief, for his opinion. He insisted there

was no cause for concern. Then he handed me a booklet detailing the

outcome of the WHO’s evaluation of commercial ELISA assays. In it, I

found two of the three tests that had been used in South America –

the very ones that supposedly went haywire, kits manufactured in

Britain and France, respectively. One was rated By WHO as

ninety-seven percent accurate, the other, ninety-eight percent.

On the other hand, I couldn’t help noticing that according to the

literature Noel had given me, the disease police apply at least five

confirmatory tests to every blood sample before such high accuracy

rates are achieved. What happens if you use just two, or one? And if

your subjects are Africans whose immune systems are often, as UNAIDS

head Peter Piot once phrased it, “in a chronically activated state

associated with chronic viral and parasitic exposure.” There may be

an answer of sorts.

The Uganda Virus Research Institute is possibly Africa’s greatest

citadel of HIV studies. Seated on a hilltop overlooking Lake Victoria

and generously funded by the British government, the UVRI employs

around 200 scientists and support personnel, runs an array of

advanced AIDS studies, tests experimental drugs, labors to produce an

AIDS vaccine and has generated scores of scientific papers during the

past decade.

In 1999, the Institute screened thousands of blood samples using

ELISA tests that have achieved excellent results in a WHO evaluation.

Test-driven in a lab in Antwerp, Belgium, one test scored 99.1

percent accuracy, while the other achieved a perfect 100. But in the

field, in Africa, it was another story entirely. There, exactly 3,369

samples came up positive on one ELISA, but only 2,237 of those (66

percent) remained positive after confirmatory testing. In other

words: a third of Ugandans who tested positive on at least one of

these supposedly near-perfect ELISAs were not carrying the virus.

What does this say about countries where AIDS statistics are based on

a single ELISA? A high-ranking source at UVRI – one who insisted on

anonymity – said that the WHO estimates for AIDS in such countries

“could be as much as one-third higher than they actually are.”

I took this up with Dr. Neff Walker, a senior adviser at UNAIDS, who

at first seemed puzzled. “The standard WHO/UNAIDS protocol calls for

two tests in countries with a higher prevalence,” he said.

But according to a WHO report, “Confirmation by a second test is

necessary only in settings where estimated HIV prevalence is known to

be less than ten percent.” This means that in countries like mine,

estimates are based on one unconfirmed test.

Dr. Walker conceded that, but said it wasn’t particularly important

given that most African counties have what he called “quality

assurance” programs in place.

“I feel,” he said, “that if a government found any evidence of too

many false positives in their testing, they would report it.

Governments would like to find evidence of a lower prevalence, as

would we all, and since they have the data to easily check your

hypothesis, they would do so and report it.”

But would they? High AIDS numbers are not entirely undesirable in

poverty-stricken African countries. High numbers mean deepening

crisis, and crisis typically generates cash. The results are now

manifest: plane loads of safari scientists flying in to oversee

research projects or cutting-edge interventions, and bringing with

them huge inflows of foreign currency – about $1 billion a year in

AIDS-related funding, and most of it destined for the countries with

the highest numbers of infected citizens.

On the ground, these dollars translate into patronage for politicians

and good jobs for their struggling constituents. In Uganda, an AIDS

counselor earns twenty times more than a schoolteacher. In Tanzania,

AIDS doctors can increase their income just by saving the

hard-currency per diems they earn while attending international

conferences. Here in South Africa, entrepreneurs are piling into the

AIDS business at an astonishing rate, setting up consultancies,

selling herbal immune boosters and vitamin supplements, devising new

insurance products, distributing condoms, staging benefits, forming

theater troupes that take the AIDS prevention message into schools. A

friend of mine is co-producing a slew of TV documentaries about AIDS,

all for foreign markets. Another friend has got his fingers crossed,

since his agency is on the shortlist to land a $6 million safe-sex ad

campaign.

Sometimes it seemed I was the only one in South Africa who found this

odd. Dr. Ed Rybicki, a University of Cape Town microbiologist, caught

sight of part of this article while it was being prepared and found

it alarming. “Vast inflation of HIV figures by bad tests?” he wrote

in an email. “Naaaaah. The test manufacturers have done a hell of a

lot of research, which is not published because it is part of quality

control, rather than part of a global cartel conspiracy to make

Africans HIV-positive!” He allowed that there was “probably some

truth” in stories about “various factors confusing the HIV test” but

accused me of stringing them together in an irresponsible way.

“Crap!” he ultimately declared. “Utter garbage.”

I defer to Dr. Rybicki in matters of science, but his denunciation

rested on the flawed assumption that, as he wrote to me, “In South

Africa, tests are repeated, and repeat positives are confirmed by

another method, meaning there is a threefold redundancy.” Maybe

that’s how it works in universities or research labs. But when it

comes to UNAIDS statistics, one test is evidently enough.

5. Can You Wait Ten Years?

And so we return to where we started, standing over a coffin under a

bleak Soweto sky, making a clumsy speech about a sad and premature

death. Adelaide Ntsele died of AIDS, but the word didn’t appear on

her death certificate. Here in Africa, those little letters

stigmatize, so doctors usually put down something gentler to spare

the family further pain. In Adelaide’s case, they wrote TB. But her

sister Elizabeth had no such need of such false consolation. She

donned a red-ribbon baseball cap and appeared on national TV, telling

the truth: “My sister had HIV/AIDS.” As a nurse, Elizabeth had no

qualms with the doctors’ diagnosis, and she concurred with their

decision to forgo surgery and let Adelaide die. “It was God’s will,”

she says, and she was at peace with it. I was the one beset by all

the doubts.

Did Adelaide really die of AIDS? It certainly looked that way, but

she also had TB, the second-most-frightening disease in the world

today, on the rise everywhere, even in rich countries, sometimes in a

virulent drug-resistant form that kills half its victims, according

to the CIA’s recent report on infectious disease. Eight years ago,

the WHO declared resurgent TB a “global emergency,” but the contagion

continues to spread, particularly in the cluster of southern African

countries simultaneously stricken by the worst TB and HIV epidemics

on the planet. It takes a blood test to establish the underlying

presence of an HIV infection in people with TB, and at least one

scientist who knows about these things has imputed that the tests

might not be entirely reliable.

Back in 1994, Max Essex, head of the Harvard AIDS Institute, and some

colleagues of his observed a “very high” (sixty-three percent) rate

of ELISA false positives among lepers in central Africa. Mystified,

they probed deeper and pinpointed the cause: two cross-reacting

antigens, one of which, lipoarabinomannan, or LAM, also occurs in the

organism that causes TB. This prompted Essex and his collaborators to

warn that ELISA results should be “interpreted with caution” in areas

where HIV and TB were co-endemic. Indeed, they speculated that

existing antibody tests “may not be sufficient for HIV diagnosis” in

settings where TB and related diseases are commonplace.

Essex was not alone in warning us that antibody tests can be confused

by diseases and conditions having nothing to do with HIV and AIDS. An

article in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996

said that “false-positive results can be caused by nonspecific

reactions in persons with immunologic disturbances (e.g., systemic

lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis), multiple transfusions

or recent influenza or rabies vaccination…. To prevent the serious

consequences of a false-positive diagnosis of HIV infection,

confirmation of positive ELISA results is necessary…. In practice,

false-positive diagnoses can result form contaminated or mislabeled

specimens, cross-reacting antibodies, failure to perform confirmatory

tests…. or misunderstanding of reported results by clinicians or

patients.” These are not the only factors that can cause false

positives. How about pregnancy? The U.S. National Institutes of

Health states that multiple pregnancies can confuse HIV tests. In the

past few years, similar claims have been made for measles, dengue

fever, Ebola, Marburg and malaria (again).

But let’s put all that science aside, for a moment. Lots of people

thought it was wrong for me even to pose questions such as these,

especially at a moment when rich countries, rich corporations and

rich men were considering billion-dollar contributions to a Global

AIDS Superfund. They were brought to this point by a ceaseless

barrage of stories and images of unbearable suffering in Africa, all

buttressed by Geneva’s death projections. Casting doubt on those

estimates was tantamount to murder, or so said Dr, Rybicki, the Cape

Town microbiologist.

“AIDS is real, and is killing Africans in very large numbers,” he

wrote. “Presenting arguments that purport to show otherwise in the

popular press is simply going to compound the damage already done by

Mbeki. And a lot more people may die who may not have otherwise.”

Rybicki was right. But what are the facts? After a year of looking, I

still can’t say for sure.

When I embarked on this story, you may recall, no massive rise in

registered deaths was discernable in South Africa. A year later, I

decided to return to my point of departure to see if the discrepancy

persisted. I wrote to the country’s Department of Home Affairs, which

manages the death register, and asked for the latest numbers. In

response came a set of figures somewhat different from those

initially provided – the consequence, I am told of people who died

without any identity documents. Here is the final analysis:

Deaths registered in 1996 – 363,238.

Deaths registered in 2000 – 457,335.

As you see, registered deaths have indeed risen – not to the extent

prophesied by the United Nations, perhaps, but there is definite

movement in an ominous direction. Deaths are up across the board, but

concentrated in certain critical age groups: females in their

twenties, and males age thirty to thirty-nine.

A team of experts commissioned by the Medical Research Council has

studied this changing death pattern and found it to be “largely

consistent with the pattern predicted by [ours] and other models of

the AIDS epidemic.” Their conclusion: AIDS has become the “biggest

cause” of mortality in South Africa, responsible for forty percent of

adult deaths.

And yet, and yet, and yet, even this is not the end of our tale,

because another governmental body, Stats SA, has challenged these

findings. The Washington Post reported that the South African census

bureau called the MRC study “badly flawed,” saying “the samples were

not representative, and assumptions about the probability of the

transmission of the virus that causes AIDS were not necessarily

accurate.”

And that’s my story: enigma upon enigma, riddle leading to riddle,

and no reprieve from doubt. Local actuarial models say 352,000 South

Africans have died from AIDS since the epidemic began. The MRC says

517,000. The figure from a group I haven’t even mentioned yet, the

United Nations Population Division, is double that – 1.06 million –

and the unofficial WHO/UNAIDS projections are even higher. I have

wasted a year of my time and thousands of Rolling Stone’s

editorial-budget dollars, and all I can really tell you is that my

faith in science has been dented. These guys can’t agree on anything.

Ordinary Africans everywhere see that the scourge is moving among

them. The guide who showed me around Uganda had lost two siblings.

Our driver had lost three. On the banks of the Kagera River, where

the plague began, we met a sad old man who said all five of his

children had died of it.

But ask these people about access to health care, and they laugh

ruefully. “The coffee price is collapsing,” they say. No one has

money. We can’t even afford transport to hospital, let alone

medicine.” All across rural east Africa, doctors confirmed the

charge: no money, no medicine. Even mission hospitals now ask

patients for money.

“What can we do?” asks Father Boniface Kaayabula, who works at a

Catholic mission in rural Uganda. “We have no money, too. We must ask

people to pay, and only a very few can.”

So what do poor Africans do if they fall sick? They go to roadside

shacks called “drug stores” and buy snake oil. Chloroquine for

malaria, on a continent where that former miracle drug has lost most

of its curative power; nameless black-market antibiotics for lung

diseases, in a setting where up to sixty percent of pneumonia is

drug-resistant; penicillin for gonorrhea, administered by an amateur

“injectionist” who might be unaware that the quantity needed to knock

out the infection has risen a hundredfold in the past decade. For the

poorest of the poor, even such dubious nostrums are beyond reach.

They try to cure themselves with herbs, they fail, and they die.

What’s to be done? Dr. Joseph Sonnabend is a South Africa-born

physician who was running a venereal-disease clinic in New York back

in the early Eighties, when GRID first appeared. He became known

throughout the world as a pioneer in AIDS treatment. When President

Mbeki launched his controversial inquiry into the disease last year,

Sonnabend came home to participate, an experience he likens to

“entering hell.”

As founder of the AIDS Medical Foundation, which became the American

AIDS Research Foundation, or AmFAR, Sonnabend has no patience with

those dissidents who dispute the syndrome’s existence or HIV’s power

to cause it. But he also believes there are “opportunists” and

“phonies” whose chief skill is “manipulation of fear for advancement

in terms of money and power.” In fact, he quit AmFAR, his own group,

because he felt it was exaggerating the threat of a heterosexual

epidemic. A decade later, he’s still fighting the lonely battle for

wise policies, especially in Africa.

In Pretoria, he says, one faction argued for the bulk of available

funds to be committed to the purchase of AIDS drugs. But merely

dumping AIDS drugs into resource-poor countries is pointless,

Sonnabend argued, although he does believe there are limited

situations where they could be safely and effectively used. The

prevention of mother-to-child transmission is one; another is in

people with advanced disease where facilities to adequately monitor

the use of drugs are in place. Unfortunately, the cost of

establishing an infrastructure to do this on a large scale would be

enormous, and without this hardly anyone would benefit, save drug

manufacturers.

The answer, he feels, is to eliminate conditions that render Africans

vulnerable to HIV in the first place. A year down the line, Sonnabend

is still trying to organize an international conference to discuss

the disposition of the money lodged in the Global AIDS Superfund. The

way he sees it, $1 billion a year would be enough to transform the

lives of ordinary Africans and curb the AIDS epidemic, but only if

it’s not squandered on unsustainable “drugs into people” programs.

“There’s a place for AIDS drugs and prevention campaigns,” he says,

“but it’s not the only answer. We need to roll out clean water and

proper sanitation. Do something about nutrition. Put in some basic

health infrastructure. Develop effective drugs for malaria and TB and

get them to everyone who needs them.”

On the other hand, we have researchers like the ones from Harvard

University who insist that biomedical intervention is morally

inescapable. “We can raise people from their deathbeds,” said

professor Bruce Walker. They calculated that it should be possible to

provide Africans with AIDS drugs for as little as $1,100 a year.

Granted, says Sonnabend, but this makes little sense if that one

lucky person’s neighbors are dying for lack of medicines that cost a

few cents.

So who’s right? Depends on the numbers, I guess. In the end, I

attempted to bring all my unanswered questions on that topic to the

man who was there when the epidemic first hit this continent, Dr.

Peter Piot, who has today risen to the role of chief of UNAIDS.

But my call to him was directed instead to UNAIDS’ chief

epidemiologist, a physician named Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander.

The UNAIDS computer model of Africa’s epidemic is in fact completely

dependable, Dr. Schwartlander says because it relies on a “very

simple formula. You take the pregnancy-clinic numbers. You take the

median survival time – around nine years in Africa. You say this is

roughly the distribution curve. Calculation of deaths is completely

plausible if – and this is important – you have a good idea of the

prevalence of HIV and how it spreads over time.”

Why then, I asked, do we have so many different estimates of AIDS

deaths in South Africa?

“I’m not shocked,” he said. “The models may completely disagree at a

particular point in time, but in the end the curves look incredibly

similar. They’re goddamn consistent.”

If that’s true, I said, then why would we have 457,000 registered

deaths here last year when the UN says 400,000 of them died of AIDS?

One of those numbers must be wrong.

“You say there are 457,000 registered deaths in South Africa?”

Schwartlander said, momentarily nonplussed. “This is an estimate

based on projections.”

No, said I, it’s the actual number of registered deaths last year.

“We don’t really know,” he replied. “Things are moving very fast.

What is the total number of people who actually die? For all we know,

it could be much higher. HIV has never existed in mankind before, and

there’s no anchor point set in stone.” The UNAIDS numbers are, after

all, only estimates. We are not saying this is the number. We are

saying this is our best estimate. Ten years from now, we won’t have

these problems. Ten years from now, we’ll know everything.”

Ten years! Had I known, I could have saved myself a lot of grief. For

even as I tried to track down the old numbers, bigger new ones were

supplanting them – 17 million Africans dead of AIDS and 25 million

more with HIV, UNAIDS now estimates; not one in five South African

adults infected but one in four. Are these numbers right? Who knows?

Rian Malan is the author of “My Traitor’s Heart: A South African

Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe and His Conscience.”

NY Press shows who are the true “denialists”

June 23rd, 2005

This week a crack in the wall of mainstream media neglect of the AIDS dissidents appeared at the New York Press (Jun 22 Wed-28 2005 Vol 18 – Issue 25). This “alternative paper” with its independent politics is a frank and feisty weekly in New York City which, since it appeared some years ago, has become more interesting and relevant than the once dominant gay-mainstream weekly Village Voice, which it has largely replaced and thrown into hard times.

A while ago the New York Press devoted considerable space to a discussion of whether HIV really caused AIDS, and eventually followed this unprecedented break from the high stepping media AIDS chorus line with “Orphans on Trial”, a notable article last year by Liam Scheff, an investigative AIDS reporter (a rare species) who exposed the fact that experimental AIDS antiretroviral drugs had been tested on orphaned black children in the foster care of the city without reference to anyone acting in the interests of the children.

As noted in the post below New York researchers did abuse children this highhandedness doubly outrages AIDS skeptics since they are familiar with the peer-reviewed literature, and the NIH field studies, which demonstrate that these drugs are not “life saving” but in fact, after some temporary improvement due apparently to their killing effect on infections suffered by the AIDS patients (other than HIV, which is not much seen in AIDS patients) eventually cause groteque fat buildup and kidney aand liver damage annd death. No only that but the whole theory underlying their use is condemned by the most intensely peer-reviewed review literature in the field as utterly without scientifc or even common sense.

What the New York Press now offers readers is a “debate” between two proponents of the two sides, with the title�emblazoned on the front page and displayed from thousands of street bins in Manhattan�”Drugs�worse than the Disease? An AIDS debate”. In fact there is no debate as such but a blind exchange. The two opponents have each written an article without even being able to see in advance what their rival is saying.

Like virtually any AIDS debate on this level the discussion is incomplete, rife with error and evasion and on the HIV defenders’ side loaded with political, emotional and religious attitudes disparaging the motivations of the critics.

Nonetheless the exchange offers not only a chance to see how the two styles differ in this way, but also to make one serious point which conclusively establishes which side has to be talen seriously according to our scientific measure.

The editors introduce the clash as follows:

DRUGS, DISEASE, DENIAL

Last July, New York Press published an article by Liam Scheff entitled �Orphans on Trial.� The piece sparked a slow-building wave of media interest in the children of Incarnation Children�s Center in Washington Heights, who have since become a lightning rod for a larger debate on HIV/AIDS drugs. A small but increasingly influential faction, commonly known as AIDS denialists, claims that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that the drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS are worse than the disease. We have invited longtime human-rights activist Jeanne Bergman and Celia Farber, a journalist and self-described �AIDS dissident,� to discuss the positions of their respective camps. We hope the heat generates some light.

—The editors

It is unfortunate that the editors repeat the wretchedly illiterate and politically loaded formulation “denialist”, a usage aimed at identifying HIV-AIDS questioners with holocaust deniers. The words we prefer are “doubter” or “questioner”, since lay HIV critics make no claims to scientific expertise. Scientists, science journalists and others who do understand the science very well and emerge HIV critics are, however, invariably “dissident” to the point of denying HIV any functional relevance, and denying that HIV=AIDS has any basis in fact, so “denier” would not be inappropriate, if it were not subject to the same Holocaust-denier overtones.

But the “debate” forms a prize specimen of the different styles of argument adopted by a typical mainstream believer and an experienced doubter of the medications flowing from a prima facie grossly anomalous paradigm, HIV=AIDS. Both are typical, and telling.

On the mainstream side we have Jeanne Bergman, a “human rights activist” whose article is replete with ad hominem insults, general scorn, I-know-better smugness and the chanting of dogma with little supporting fact. Bergman knows without study that HIV dissidents are “HIV denialists, the dangerously deluded people who have “been around for years” though “every wingnut claim” they make has been “thoroughly and completely demolished”. But their “lies” continue, “destructive” and “cynical” “misinformation”, and now they are in this case “a sensationalist stew of lies, partial truths and innuendo”.

Her maligning of those who question the gospel has a lynch mob spirit, an appeal to shared political-religious feeling rather than any evidence of desire to deal with the problems the HIV=AIDS paradigm presents. The issue in play is the tangled rationale for admittedly dangerous and eventually lethal medications, but the problems are simply dismissed as if they didn’t exist.

But then, given the modus operandi of such adamant supporters as Bergman, objections do vanish. This is because every difficulty (for example, the eventual death of patients) is reinterpreted as a success (their lives were prolonged beyond immediate death, it is claimed). Meanwhile, supporting evidence is barely visible. Where it appears it consists of flat statements such as “almost all HIV+ infants are ill by the time they are three” which are inherently problematical (almost all? how ill? and in what way? were they medicated? if so, what with?) and without any reference.

This is not science but politics, of course, and it smacks of a shared religion in that we see tribal anger and outrage directed against doubters, rather than a genuine discussion of the science. Often, it seems, the most conviction is shown by those with the least science in hand. Yet Bergman has the effrontery to say that “creationism and HIV denial have a common enemy in science”,

Why the best science supports HIV critics

All this would be trivial except that it raises the only important point that can and must be made in answer to reflex defenders of the status quo in AIDS on any occasion at any time, which is this: Contrary to Bergman, it is the HIV doubters who have the most thoroughly examined science on their side.

This is easily established, as follows. Thousands upon thousands of HIV-AIDS papers have been published in scientific journals, but the peer review they have recieved has been of only the kindest, most collegial sort. For the peer reviewers chosen by major science journals are invariably orthodox, and have no reason to challenge the basic premises of HIV-AIDS,. and every reason to oppose it. Authors of mainstream AIDS papers and their peer reviewers are family, and as suggested by the telling dissident criticism of published orthodox papers over the years, the gatekeepers (like all of us) overrate work in line with their own view, and overlook the flaws.

The few very large and substantial articles written at the top level reviewing the theory that HIV is causing what is now labeled “AIDS” have also all been peer reviewed ie scientifically validated by orthodox peer reviewers. In their case, however, the gatekeeprs are not kindly disposed towards the articles because all of them have consistently rejected the HIV theory as unlikely, unsubstantiated, and unscientific, and in the end, plainly wrong. The reviewers naturally are all either very hostile to such papers which undermine the ground they themselves stand on, or at the very least are very, very anxious and careful not to allow any wrong claims or arguments along these lines pass into print, simply to protect their own rear ends with their colleagues.

Yet, and this is the key to the whole scientific debate over HIV as the cause of AIDS, in each case they ran out of objections which they could sustain, and the articles were published. Over the last twenty years, these damning review articles, rejecting HIV as the cause of AIDS, have met no answering articles in the same journals, although these have been requested and in one important case promised, but never delivered.

The last major review article condemning HIV-AIDS theory was published in 2003, and like the rest stands unrefuted by the peers that reviewed it and any peers that read it. It was published in the Journal of Biosciences of the Indian Academy of Sciences, as serious and scholarly a journal as any you can name. (Of course, the reasons why the article was not even considered by the editors of the Western equivalent journals are relevant and worth investigating, but whatever they are they are political and not scientific. Any article which is not rejected by peer reviewers but by the editors before peer review is by definition rejected for political reasons, unless it is completely incompetent, and the Indian Academy of Science does not, of course, publish completely incompetent papers.)

As things stand, then, the plain fact of the matter the best, most rigorously tested scientific literature condemns the HIV-AIDS hypothesis as having nothing to it, scientifically speaking—groundless in theory and evidence.

The best science is on the side of the HIV-AIDS questioners, and not as the unread Bergman fondly believes, on the side of the global congregation amassed by the conventional wisdom. Amongst these faaithful, even the scientists in the field are not well acquainted with the arguments, we have found, so she need not be ashamed of her own evident ignorance of them.

Here is the Bergman article in full:

WWW.NYPRESS.COM | JUNE 22, 2005

JEANNE BERGMAN

NEWS & COLUMNS

For the last year and a half, Incarnation Children’s Center, a small skilled nursing facility in Washington Heights for children with AIDS, has been the target of a concerted attack by HIV denialists, the dangerously deluded people who believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that people with HIV should not receive treatment.

The denialists accused ICC of abusing the foster children who live there as “guinea pigs” for deadly medical experiments, and these charges have elicited interest and some support within the Black community in northern Manhattan, which is acutely aware of both the racist history of American medicine and the routine incompetence and hostility of the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS), New York City’s troubled foster care agency.

HIV denialists have been around for years. Scientists, AIDS activists, clinicians and service providers ignore them when they can. Every wingnut claim they make�that HIV does not exist, that AIDS does not exist, that HIV medicines are the cause of the disease�has been thoroughly and completely demolished. But the lies spread by the denialists are beginning to have a destructive effect, hampering prevention efforts and obstructing access to treatment for people with HIV, in the U.S. and globally. By selecting ICC as a target, the HIV denialists are cynically exploiting the African-American community’s deep and legitimate concerns about medical racism, pharmaceutical profiteering and ACS’s abuses of government power in order to spread disinformation about HIV and AIDS in communities of color.

The attacks on Incarnation Children’s Center began with a sensationalist stew of lies, partial truths and innuendo cooked up by an AIDS denialist and free-lance writer named Liam Scheff and circulated on the Internet in early 2004. The New York Post picked up the story in March of that year, eliciting a spasm of misinformed grandstanding by a couple of City Council members. Scheff got New York Press to print his story that July [vol. 17, issue 28]. But his claim that children at ICC were being tortured in hideous experiments by a cabal of plotters including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Catholic Archdiocese, GlaxoSmithKline, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and the Administration of Children’s Services wasn’t taken seriously until the story was rendered by people with British accents on BBC Two in November 2004. Regrettably, the HIV denialists driving this hoax have since been joined by African-American activists affiliated with small groups like the December 12th Movement, whose rage is directed primarily at ACS. They started organizing protests outside ICC, thus outing the residents as children with AIDS and characterizing their home as a “slaughterhouse.”

The HIV denialists have also effectively worked the independent media networks. Over the last six months several programs on WBAI, NYC’s Pacifica radio station, have repeatedly and thoughtlessly reiterated the charges against ICC and the deadly lie that anti-HIV treatment, not HIV itself, is the cause of AIDS. Last month, the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee convened a hearing showcasing the HIV denialists’ claims. Christian right-wing extremists have also joined the call for a criminal investigation of the National Institutes of Health for supporting foster children’s inclusion in clinical trials. The Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, Mrs. Andrea Lafferty, parroted the denialists’ attack on medicine and ICC when she declared, “Powerless and parentless children � are being scrutinized by the ‘scientists’ of the NIH. But using HIV-infected foster children, some as young as infants, for their AIDS experiments is beyond despicable. � these voiceless little ones have no rights and no one to speak for them when the NIH is in charge.”

Creationism and HIV denial have a common enemy in science.

When Incarnation Children’s Center was founded in 1988, children with HIV/AIDS who were in foster care in New York City were not allowed to participate in clinical trials. As new medications were developed, including those for AIDS-defining opportunistic infections and eventually antiretrovirals, they were tested on, and approved for, adult populations first, and only then considered for children. Clinical trials are the first point of access to new and effective treatments; in addition, HIV+ children in clinical trials receive the best available medical care.

Children perinatally infected with HIV develop symptoms much more rapidly than adults: almost all HIV+ infants are ill by the time they are three, while adults are commonly symptom-free for a decade or more after infection. Children also do not live long without treatment. Before the advent of antiretroviral medications used in combination therapy, HIV infected newborns had a median survival rate of six months after diagnosis. In the 1980s, HIV+ children lucky enough to live with their birthparents could be enrolled in clinical trials and get both the newest drugs and the best available care. But a 1992 study reported that over 50 percent of the HIV-infected children in New York City lived with relatives or in foster care, and these children could not participate in the trials. That is, more than half of the kids with HIV�and they were overwhelmingly Black and Latino�were denied access to life-saving drugs simply because they were in foster care. That is the story of racial discrimination in health care and the foster care system that needs to be told.

ICC and other advocates for children with HIV successfully fought to have the policy that discriminated against foster kids changed. Almost all of the children from the ICC clinical trials period, children who would otherwise have died, are alive and well today because of what they accomplished. Not a single child at ICC died as a result of clinical trials they participated in there. Those kids were not “guinea pigs.” They were children with a deadly infection receiving state-of-the-art medical care and drugs already proven effective in adults.

ICC’s participation in clinical trials ended in 2002 because, as a result of the successful treatment of children in the clinical trials, those drugs were approved as safe and effective for pediatric populations. But the denialists spin even this as sinister: now, Scheff has charged, foster kids with HIV are being given anti-viral medications not just experimentally but as�gasp�routine treatment. That’s true. And that’s good.

The denialists emphasize the limitations and the side effects of antiretroviral medications; some, ignorant of the history of the epidemic, assert that these treatments are themselves the cause of AIDS. There is, of course, no cure yet for HIV, and the antiretroviral drugs are at best nasty to take and difficult to tolerate. (In his NY Press article last year, Scheff boldly revealed that ICC’s Medical Director admitted, “The drugs have a ‘significant, lingering, bitter taste.’ So they mix the pills or powders in chocolate or strawberry syrup.” Perhaps Scheff’s next expos� will tell the truth about cherry-flavored NyQuil.)

No one familiar with HIV and AIDS treatment has ever suggested that being on combination therapy is pleasant for anyone, and both immediate allergic reactions and long term side effects can be very serious, and even, in rare cases, fatal. HIV disease sucks, and the drugs so far available for it suck, too. Generally, however, the side effects are greatly outweighed by the benefits of treatment. The children at ICC had the advantage of living in a structured, supportive setting that ensured that they could adhere to complex regimens with stringent dietary requirements, and on-site health care that enabled rapid identification of, and response to, any side effects.

The HIV denialists say that the young children at ICC could not refuse the drugs or fight off the “researchers” who gave them their medications. Should children of two or even 12 years get to decide if they will or will not take their medicine? Of course not, particularly when irregular dosing may result in drug-resistant HIV. All responsible parents and caregivers understand that children can’t make crucial life-and-death decisions for themselves, and the law recognizes this fact too: that’s why legally children can neither give nor withhold medical consent. ICC, with its loving, expert and compassionate staff, cared for the children; parents or other guardians signed informed consent forms. The clinical trials�the only way the kids could get the drugs that kept them alive�were closely monitored by the National Institutes of Health, collaborating hospitals, and the Administration of Children’s Services. The HIV denialists see a conspiracy where there were in fact multiple levels of oversight.

Were the children at ICC stolen from their parents to be used for experiments? Absolutely not. The parents of many children at ICC had died from AIDS; others were incapacitated by HIV-related illness, drugs, or homelessness and unable to care for very sick children: that’s why the kids were in the foster care system. Until ICC was founded, orphaned and unparented HIV+ kids at Harlem Hospital were stuck there as “boarder babies”�too sick for regular foster care, they had nowhere to live but the hospital. The denialists assert that the Administration of Children’s Services as not merely neglectful, but complicit in a “full blown criminal conspiracy” when it placed HIV+ kids in ICC. ACS is always (and often justifiably) an easy target: the agency often abuses its power over parents while failing to protect children. But what ACS did in this instance was, for once, really wonderful: it put kids with HIV/AIDS who had no other home into a cozy, first-rate specialized care facility where they had access to state-of-the-art combination anti-viral therapy under the expert supervision of a brilliant and compassionate staff. That’s not a crime to be prosecuted, but an incredible accomplishment to be celebrated.

Thanks to other clinical trials proving the efficacy of AZT and Nevirapine in preventing perinatal transmission, and in particular to the amazing community education and care provided to pregnant women by Harlem Hospital, the incidence of perinatal HIV transmission in Washington Heights and Harlem has fallen dramatically. Almost no new HIV-infected babies are born in northern Manhattan now, and the AIDS babies of ICC are nearing adulthood.

It’s not hard to understand why some people don’t believe in the reality of HIV and AIDS. They may be in genuine psychological denial: they don’t want to be infected, and they don’t want this terrifying pandemic to decimate their families, their world. Others resist changing the behaviors that put themselves and others at risk of HIV infection, so they persuade themselves it doesn’t matter. More broadly, the history of racism in American medicine, the pharmaceutical giants’ single-minded pursuit of profit, and the frustration that more than 20 years into the AIDS epidemic there is no cure, have prepared fertile ground for denial and disinformation.

It’s more difficult to discern the motives of people who urge others to reject the overwhelming scientific evidence and medical consensus that HIV causes AIDS by destroying the immune system, allowing the opportunistic infections that would otherwise be easily fought off to turn deadly.

A closer look at the denialist who evidently instigated the hoax about ICC explains a lot. Christine Maggiore, one of the most visible HIV denialists, introduced Liam Scheff to the guardian of two children who lived at ICC. Maggiore has built a profitable career by combining a gift for self-promotion with a couple of false-positive HIV test results. The story she tells begins in 1992, when, despite the complete absence of risk factors, a routine HIV antibody test came back inconclusive. The retest was positive, and Maggiore threw herself into the whirlwind life of an AIDS poster girl, “booked for a year’s worth of engagements before I’d even finished [a speaker’s] training course. I made the audiences, laugh, cry, and scared.” When a year or so later her doctor suspected she wasn’t really infected with HIV, she “finally found the courage to retest,” and in a series of tests received results that were inconclusive, she reports, then positive, negative and positive again.

False-negative HIV tests are extremely rare, while false positives are much more common, though infrequent. This fact and all the other available evidence strongly indicate that Maggiore was never infected with HIV, and she herself emphasizes the term “positive” and avoids saying she is infected or has the virus, allowing others to draw that erroneous conclusion. Most people would be thrilled to learn they were uninfected, but Maggiore was unwilling to give up the spotlight. This HIV pretender twisted her good health and the marginal incidence of false positives into a lucrative new racket�selling HIV denialism and bragging about her good life “without pharmaceutical treatments or fear of AIDS.” But of course Maggiore has no “fear of AIDS”�she doesn’t have HIV. She has since had two children, now three and seven years old, whom she boasted to Scheff “have never been tested. � They don’t take AIDS drugs. And they’re not in the least bit sick.” But of course Maggiore didn’t want them to be tested: she knows that they are not at risk and that their being uninfected would lead people to question her own status. And of course they don’t take “AIDS drugs”�they don’t have HIV or AIDS.

Christine Maggiore isn’t living proof that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS; she’s just another lying AIDS profiteer, exploiting the real fears of those who actually are infected with HIV and the real suffering of those living with AIDS to get public attention, sell books and pick up well-paid speaking gigs. This might matter less if she wasn’t telling parents and caregivers of children who really are HIV-infected to take the kids off difficult but life-saving antivirals. Maggiore has never had to make agonizing treatment decisions for herself or for her children.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control reported that about 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. (Of these, fully half are African-American.) This is the largest number of infected Americans since the start of the epidemic, reflects the good news that people with HIV are living longer because of antiretroviral therapy and the sad fact that HIV prevention messages are not effective enough, so the virus is continuing to spread. Because HIV denialists actively discourage people with the virus from taking antiretroviral drugs, and because disinformation about HIV allows people to ignore advice about safer sex and clean needles, the rates of both deaths and new infections will rise if their campaign is successful. The communities most at risk�African-Americans, Latinos, and gay men of all ethnicities�will suffer the greatest losses. Not believing in the virus offers no protection from it.

The small clutches of protesters who gather occasionally outside Incarnation Children’s Center vow “No More Tuskegee Experiments.” But remember: The essence of the Tuskegee atrocity was that poor African-Americans who were known by doctors to have a devastating, usually fatal infection were lied to about their condition and intentionally denied lifesaving medication that was available to others. That is exactly what the denialists are perpetrating right now. Denialism is the new Tuskegee. In Washington Heights, the heroes who fought the government to get treatment to the powerless children of color who were infected, sick and dying were the brave little group at Incarnation Children’s Center.

Volume 18, Issue 25

� 2005 New York Press

As usual, the lay debate rapidly deteriorates into an ad hominem discussion of motives, but Bergman’s is particularly egregious. For a human rights activist to invest in such calumny as suggesting the notorious HIV questioner Christine Maggiore is in it for “self-promotion” seems unconscionable. With the social pressure all on the side of orthodoxy�and there is probably no current social issue where greater pressure is at work�the penalties for being an AIDS dissident are great. No self-promotion would be worth the price which the Maggiores of the world pay for their dissent, which always includes widespread vilification of this kind.

Surely it is the wave of social pressure that buoys her that leads Bergman to triumphantly conclude that “In Washington Heights, the heroes who fought the government to get treatment to the powerless children of color who were infected, sick and dying were the brave little group at Incarnation Children’s Center.” Even the HHS has agreed that their behavior was against the code. And the lack of sense in this statement is stunning, if the studies were designed to test the effects of the drugs.

On the other side of the “debate”, we have the exemplary attitude of political humility and modestly inexpert enquiry assumed by Celia Farber, one of the longest running reporter-enquirers in AIDS, of which there are barely a handful in the media, few of them in the top mainstream yet. (Insiders expect a change in this shortly, for a stunningly well written piece is in the works at a major magazine which seems destined to gain the dissident view new respect and attention.)

Farber’s slightly mournful earnestness is charming and effective, quickly winning over readers by enlisting them as fellow travelers in her enquiry, by persuading them gently to join her in her incessant wondering at the inconsistencies of “AIDS”. That is to say, her incredulity at the disconnect between the theoretical fantasy of AIDS and the plain facts of experience, and wonder at the unscientific, often irrational, self-serving and socially irresponsible behavior of the people who are influential in the field, are both more persuasive in the public arena than direct attack.

Here (below) is Farber’s “denialism”, which is nothing more than “denying” that HIV-AIDS ideology makes sense. It denies any sense in accepting the current story of HIV-AIDS when it is rife with inconsistencies, irresponsible behavior, questionable claims, corrupt studies and statistics, concealment and dismissal of problems, and all the other earmarks of a boondoogle which has nothing to do with good science and everything to do with superstition, slow wittedness and self-interest.

In other words, she prefers to ask for answers, rather than accept unlikely claims.

WWW.NYPRESS.COM | JUNE 22, 2005

CELIA FARBER

NEWS & COLUMNS

The hysteria-laden question of whether anti-HIV drugs are �life-saving,� as the AIDS orthodoxy holds, or �deadly,� as the HIV dissidents claim, is unanswerable in the currently available language, which was blunted and rendered incoherent by political forces as early as 1981. Language is the only interface between phenomena and our comprehension of them, and I have grown weary of being forced to use AIDS language that is itself inaccurate and loaded. First of all, lives can�t really be �saved��they can only be extended. To prove that a life has indeed been extended one must first know, with absolute certainty, that without intervention, the life would have ended. In order to know that, one must know the natural history of the disease, and then one must examine the fate of the untreated population.

The unified voice of the AIDS establishment has claimed thunderous victory for the post-1996 drug regimens that came to be known as �cocktails,� which came into vogue about three years after death rates began declining, but nonetheless got full-trumpet credit for turning the tide.

Let me say, first, that I have been told and have reported and have imprinted upon my soul that for some people, at some stages of immune collapse, these drugs have helped, and maybe even prevented a slide into death. Roberto Giraldo, a doctor and expert in infectious and tropical diseases who crosses the world treating AIDS, tells me this is probably due to their anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. He also tells me that in his experience, severe immune deficiency�which may be a more useful term than �AIDS��occurs only where severe depletion of vital nutrients has occurred; reversing the illness starts with restoring those nutrients.

“Biochemically speaking, people who are malnourished, whether because they are poor, or because they are drug addicts, suffer from oxidization, and lack vitamins A, B, E, zinc and selenium. This is true of all AIDS patients I have ever seen,” he said via telephone. “We cannot say that protease inhibitors are useless. In 1996 when they started to use protease inhibitors, there is no doubt that there was a change. Before 1996, all the people who used AZT, they were killed. There was no benefit there. Protease inhibitors, they are also very toxic but they have benefits, they are antioxidants. No doubt they are poison and in the long run they kill the person, but you need proteases in the process of oxidation. Besides that, these drugs are also antibiotics.” Giraldo believes that AIDS is a disease �of poverty,� primarily, meaning of extreme depletion of the cells, and that those who have been middle- or upper-class, who have gotten sick, depleted their bodies through drug use and prolonged exposure to toxins. “HIV by itself causes nothing,” he says.

Giraldo has written and published voluminously on how to reverse the condition of severe immune suppression through intensive nutritional supplementation and orthomolecular medicine, combined with modified antibiotic and other targeted drug regimens. I am well aware of how scorned these ideas are among those who feel that they and they alone know what AIDS is, and how to �fight� it, i.e., the orthodoxy and the pro-drug activists. Since 1986, when I began reporting on AIDS, I have compensated for this scorn, ridicule and censure by quoting the Roberto Giraldos of this world, not because I know these voices are ‘right,’ but because I feel they must be represented against the relentless chorus of the new-and-better-drugs-into-all-bodies-in-all-nations crowd. I am not a doctor and have never treated an AIDS patient. I’ve known dozens if not hundreds of people though, in my 20 years studying this and listening to people, who have been HIV-antibody positive and stayed healthy for up to 20 years and probably more. I wish somebody was counting them, listening to them, logging them in the official history. Nobody is; they are not supposed to exist.

Each of the 26 anti-HIV drugs currently on the market, combined in infinite combinations, or ‘cocktails,’ is, by admission of the manufacturers, potentially lethal. One of the unexpected effects of Protease Inhibitors, or so-called HAART therapy (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) seen in recent years was a disruption of the body�s fat-distribution mechanisms. This in turn (in addition to the fatty deposits on the upper neck and various parts of the body) has caused strokes and heart attacks in many patients, at the very moment when the drugs were theoretically �working,� meaning so-called surrogate markers (cd4 cells and viral load) were going the right way. The other significant danger of HAART proved to be liver and kidney failure, which, according to a study done at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, �surpassed deaths due to advanced HIV,� in 2002. In 2005 the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to a Danish study, AIDS drug cocktails �may double the risk of heart attacks.� In 2004, the journal AIDS reported, with characteristic lack of alarm, �All 4 classes of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and all 19 FDA approved ARVs have been directly or indirectly associated with life-threatening events and death.� The paper was titled �Grade 4 Events Are as Important as AIDS Events in the Era of HAART,� and �grade 4 events� referred to �serious or life-threatening events.�

The conclusion: More than twice as many people (675) had a drug-related (grade 4) life-threatening event as an �AIDS event� (332). The most common causes of grade 4 events (drug toxicities) were �liver related.� The greatest risk of death was not an AIDS �event� but a drug event�heart attacks (�cardiovascular events�). The authors wrote: �Our finding is that the rate of grade 4 events is greater than the rate of AIDS events, and that the risk of death associated with these grade 4 events was very high for many events. Thus the incidence of AIDS fails to capture most of the morbidity experienced by patients with HIV infection prescribed HAART.� (Italics mine) In plain English, AIDS drugs cause AIDS and death far more effectively than �AIDS� itself.

Any triumph or victory claimed by the AIDS lobby for these drugs must be measured against a phenomenon they continue to deny exists, namely the untold number of people who are, to use their language, �living with HIV.� This includes those invisible, uncounted, unloved people who are HIV-antibody positive, taking no drugs, not getting sick, not dying at a faster rate than HIV negatives. This begs the question of whether HIV causes AIDS. Currently, we have one camp�which I will call the �orthodoxy��that argues that although current HIV drugs have frightful side effects and are difficult to take, they have nonetheless reversed a tide of death, which was seen throughout the 1980s and into the mid 1990s in people who were diagnosed with severe immune dysfunction. This camp, since it views AIDS as �HIV disease,� meaning caused singularly by HIV, concentrates its efforts to �fight AIDS,� on high tech drugs that in various ways are meant to disable HIV in the blood. They are extremely mechanistic in their view of the human body and the immune system. It�s all numbers.

The much-maligned contraries camp, which I will call the �dissidents,� have argued since the early 1980s that AIDS has multiple causes, and that its resolution should be rooted in a direct address to all these root causes. These include a cessation of recreational drug use, avoidance (when possible) of the most toxic anti-HIV drugs, a strong focus on reversing malnutrition, (particularly in Africa) and a treatment approach that treats the specific opportunistic infection a person manifests, with the state of the art treatment for that infection.

PCP pneumonia, for example, is utterly treatable, yet thousands of people died in the 1980s of it. Why? Because fighting AIDS meant �attacking� HIV, period. Never the specific diseases; never the underlying causes�only the virus. David Ho, Time�s Person of the Year, sported a button at a conference that summed up this ideology. The button said, �It�s the virus, stupid.�

How that came to be the dominant scientific religion is a subject of infinite complexity and tragedy. The virus (which is actually a retrovirus, of a class that was never thought to be pathogenic prior to 1984, and which we all harbor shards of in our germline) provided an absolute measure, a clear delineation, a battleground, and above all, a focus for a gigantic industry, as well as an international corporation called AIDS Inc. The natural and true history of AIDS is only beginning to be told, or rather, retold. When AIDS Began: San Francisco and The Making of An Epidemic (Routledge) by Michelle Cochrane traces the earliest intersection between what was being observed, those who were doing the observing, and how the �truth� fared in the process. Cochrane weaves a rigorously detailed semantic, medical, and sociological examination of the first cases as they were charted and described by the San Francisco Department of Public Health in 1981. She explodes the myth of the first cases of AIDS having appeared, as the New York Times famously phrased it, in �previously healthy,� and even upwardly mobile, gay men, and shows that quite the contrary, the first nine cases were in men who had a range of immune assaults. All were recreational drug users, many were IV drug users, and some were even homeless. They suffered from diseases that had been seen in IV drug users since the 1930s, primarily fungal infections and lung diseases. That they were �gay,� was perhaps the least significant detail. Because the federal research effort ($36 billion so far) has been 100 percent HIV-centric, and because AIDS was presumed to be sexually transmitted as opposed to �acquired,� we are essentially 20 years behind in our intelligence gathering on AIDS. One of the most astonishing things about the politics of AIDS is the way in which the left repudiated any explanations of disease causation that could be predicted by poverty and social marginalization.

One of the hallmarks of the AIDS orthodoxy�s language is that coiled within each word and phrase is the answer, as well as the shaming of the question itself. George Orwell (in 1984) described the orthodox style as, ��at once military and pedantic,� characterized by a trick of ��asking questions and then promptly answering them.� Anti-HIV drugs, for example, are always called �life-saving drugs.� Why not just call them �drugs� and allow their merits to be debated? Because at the root of the AIDS orthodoxy is a relentless urge to control all thought on AIDS.

All people who question any facet of orthodox AIDS theory are �murderously irresponsible,� and dripping with the psychic blood of millions. In this gladiatorial atmosphere, it is a wonder anybody speaks out at all. If only we could agree that most people are not, by nature, homicidal, and that dissenting views are productive to a search for truth, we might get somewhere. But I know, as surely as I know anything, that my opponent in these pages will have characterized my position as �denialist.� I am not denying anything. People have died of AIDS and the matter at hand is what they died from. A retroviral infection? A host of immuno-compromising factors? An absence of AIDS drugs�or indeed, the AIDS drugs themselves?

In 1984, when the US government announced at a press conference that one of its scientists�Robert Gallo�had found the �probable cause of AIDS,� the official theory held that HIV caused AIDS by eating CD4 cells at a rapid clip. HIV was said to cause AIDS in a year or two, at best. Today, this theory has morphed into a range of possibilities; HIV causes AIDS in 10 to 15 years, in most people, but a small minority, so-called �long-term non-progressors,� might be spared due to a genetic fluke.

To my mind, if we are to stick to the orthodoxy�s own measure, one cannot begin to speak of �saving� life until one has surpassed these ten or fifteen years. In the 1980s, AZT was claimed, with the same high dudgeon by the same orthodoxy, to �save� lives, yet few survived for more than a year on the earliest AZT regimens. The word �denial� comes to mind.

When people make dramatic claims for current drug regimens, the death rates they are actually comparing are not drugs vs. no drugs, but rather extremely toxic drugs of the early years compared to less toxic drugs of today. The earliest AIDS cases, marked by Kaposi�s Sarcoma, were treated with chemotherapy (1981 to 1986) followed by AZT monotherapy in doses ranging from 1800 milligrams to 500 milligrams (1986 to 1989) followed by combinations of AZT, ddi, ddc and d4t (1989 to 1996) followed by protease inhibitors in various combinations, from 1996 to the present day. The one era I have no question resulted in deaths from the treatment itself, is the early AZT era, (circa 1986 to 1989) particularly when the common dosage was 1200 to 1800 milligrams. A German AIDS physician named Klaus Koehnlein told me in 2000, �We killed a whole generation of AIDS patients with AZT.�

My friend Richard Berkowitz, author of Stayin Alive: The Invention of Safe Sex, A Personal History (Westview), said: �Every friend I had that went on AZT in those early years is dead.� He says that they lasted on average nine months on the drug. HIV positive since the early 1980s, Berkowitz credits his survival to two things: 1) having avoided AZT, and 2) safe sex.

What he means by �safe sex,� a concept and term he himself developed and coined, together with the late activist Michael Callen, is far more complex than mere condom use. Drawing on the pioneering observations and warnings of Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, it involves an avoidance of many STDs and parasitic infections, coupled with a belief in life rather than a belief in the death sentence of HIV. Berkowitz has also mitigated my repudiation of cocktail therapy by stressing that a moderate regimen pulled him back from the brink of death a few years ago.

Paul King, a Brit who runs a dissident website called Dissident Action Group in the U.S., counters the establishment�s claim that dissenting views on AIDS, HIV and drug regimens are still �fringe.�

�From the very beginning in the 1980s, the AIDS dissident movement faced a level of censorship unrivaled since the anti birth control information Comstock Law of the early 20th century,� he said in an email. �Every day,� King claims, �almost without exception, we attract another PhD or doctor and now have well over 4,000 doctors and scientists endorsing our views.�

�The public has had enough of exaggerated stories of epidemics that never materialize and [that diminish] personal freedom.�

Volume 18, Issue 25

� 2005 New York Press

Here then we see that a seasoned HIV doubter answers a virulent, hysterical, verbal lynching with world weary logic and citing of evidence of harm, the harm, for example, that the HAART drug regimen does to the livers of patients, often culminating in a transplant. As a staff member of Mt Sinai’s group handling liver transplants told us the other day, “Oh yes we see lots of AIDS patients!”

Why are the AIDS drugs initially beneficial?

The central issue in many people’s minds on the question of HIV and AIDS, as we have pointed out before, is that if the drugs result in what is widely reported to be immediate improvment, surely this strongly indicates that the mainstream theory is essentially correct, and that HIV causes AIDS.

Farber takes the opportunity to anwer this question, which (as far as we can check) has been left unanswered by the HIV reviewers in the peer-reviewed literature, by quoting Roberto Giraldo, an impassioned foe of HIV=AIDS ideology who works in the Laboratories of Clinical Immunology and Molecular diagnosis at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York City, and who travels widely researching tropical diseases (see his web site Roberto Giraldo).

“Biochemically speaking, people who are malnourished, whether because they are poor, or because they are drug addicts, suffer from oxidization, and lack vitamins A, B, E, zinc and selenium. This is true of all AIDS patients I have ever seen,” he said via telephone. “We cannot say that protease inhibitors are useless. In 1996 when they started to use protease inhibitors, there is no doubt that there was a change. Before 1996, all the people who used AZT, they were killed. There was no benefit there. Protease inhibitors, they are also very toxic but they have benefits, they are antioxidants. No doubt they are poison and in the long run they kill the person, but you need proteases in the process of oxidation. Besides that, these drugs are also antibiotics.” Giraldo believes that AIDS is a disease “of poverty,” primarily, meaning of extreme depletion of the cells, and that those who have been middle- or upper-class, who have gotten sick, depleted their bodies through drug use and prolonged exposure to toxins. “HIV by itself causes nothing,” he says.

Short of a peer reviewed paper on the topic, which is what the world needs, this will have to do.

One briefly wonders if Farber’s civil, encompassing tone is wasted and if she should be as decisive and belligerent as Bergman to catch the eye of casual readers. But the imbalance of politesse seems to us to indicate that all the social pressure is on the side of the current wisdom most readers share with Bergman, and against any doubters, who simply cannot afford to be adamant as the believers.

This fiercely one-sided social pressure twists the lay AIDS debate into a pretzel of bad logic and bad behavior, where rationalization of nonsense and rejection of sense is the order of the day for HIV defenders. It also places a burden on challengers which is hard for them to survive. All the platforms are occupied by the mainstream, and they must be on their best behavior even to gain a hearing.

Meanwhile, HIV defenders can behave as badly as they wish.

For exposing this distortion so clearly by running these pieces, and for bringing the dicussion back into the mainstream arena, the New York Press deserves credit.

Science is not a democracy (someone tell the New York Times, Economist, Salon etc)

June 14th, 2005

Shameful imitation of sheep by reporters

A list of courageous dissenters

Science reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, BBC, etc huddleThe degree to which the media follow majority rule in AIDS coverage is almost farcical, given their liking for assuming the pose of independence. It is also irrational, given the cut throat level of competition with each other and with corrective blogs nowadays. Why not do some original thinking for a change, folks, to distinguish your publication from the hackish horde?

Apparently, no one has explained to science reporters and their editors that all established science begins as heresy, even if the contrary is not true (that all heresy winds up as established science).

Like everyone else to whom the stock-in-trade of scientists (their research and textbook knowledge) is as baffling as computer code, media reporters, writers and columnists have only one measure with which to asssess the validity of scientific ideas: how many top ranking scientists believe the claims.

In other words, when it comes to underinformed reporters science IS effectively a democracy, with its truths voted in by a majority vote.

Nowhere is this more blatant than in the gratuitous disparaging remarks let loose by almost every major mainstream journal covering AIDS whenever the opponents of the establishment paradigm make an appearance.

Like some kind of cheering squad for the conventional wisdom no reporter from the New York Times on down seems capable of holding back from a gratuitous phrase suggesting that any dissent is crackpot, and that the proof of this is the fact that the numbers of dissenters appears geometrically smaller to them than the angelic host of the congregation.

Those who care to doubt the HIV absurdity

Here is a list compiled by a Web page that has sprung up to defend the dissenters by falling into the same trap, which is to quote as many names as possible on the dissenting side, as if this meant anything at all scientifically.
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SPECIAL NOTICE: THIS IS A SCIENCE SITE WRITTEN AND READ BY THOSE INTERESTED IN DISCERNING SCIENTIFIC TRUTH ON THE BASIS OF REASON AND EVIDENCE, SHORN OF THE CONFOUNDING INFLUENCE OF POLITICS AND OTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL BIAS. ANYONE SUFFERING FROM MISUNDERSTANDING AND COUNTERATTACK (A FREQUENT PHENOMENON IN THE EXTREMELY POLITICIZED FIELD OF HIV AND ITS ROLE IN AIDS) FOR SIGNING THIS PETITION IN THE CAUSE OF OBJECTIVE REVIEW OF THE STANDARD THEORY WHO WANTS THEIR NAME REMOVED FROM THIS LIST HERE (WHICH WAS COPIED FROM ANOTHER SITE) CAN EMAIL “AL (AT) SCIENCEGUARDIAN.COM” (SAME ADDRESS AS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FRONT PAGE OF THIS BLOG (Click the Title “SCIENCE GUARDIAN” at the top of this page for the blog front page) AND WE WILL REMOVE IT AS SOON AS WE READ THE EMAIL. FOR THIS AND ANY OTHER ENQUIRY REGARDING THIS BLOG, DO THIS OR CALL 212 534 7371 IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEM. – ANTHONY L.
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The only thing that means anything scientifically of course is the long list of published peer reviewed articles in the best scientific literature that deny in their conclusions the validity of this scientifically unproven paradigm, HIV-causes-AIDS. A recent summary of thirty years of dissent which has never been laid to rest with scientific counter evidence and counter arguments is here:

    Hypothesis & Theory ARTICLE
    Front. Public Health, 23 September 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2014.00154
    Questioning the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: 30 years of dissent by Patricia Goodson


This predictably came under attack from paradigm partisans as soon as it was published on line but should survive, since it is not written in support of the dissenters but simply reviewing their activity.

On the other hand, politics is influenced by numbers and also by the credentials of dissenters, so some useful political purpose is served by the list, which details credentials as well as names, both of which amount to a total which should bring this sneering arrogance to a sharp halt.

Albeit on the same spurious level as the uncalled for sidewipes of the media, it acts as a corrective.

Here is the list and its introductory collection of media statements which promote the idea that scientific validity is a numbers game:

You can find it at Grand List of AIDS Dissidents at the African Rainbow Circle

Bias in the media

First, media stupidities:

a small band of scientists who claim that HIV does not cause AIDS
-Nature, March 16, 2000
a small band of AIDS gadflies
-San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 1994
a tiny scientific fringe
a coterie of merry Internet-surfing dissidents
– Mail and Guardian, Johannesburg, April 19, 2002, Dec 20, 2001
dangerous scientific cranks
-Washington Post, April 20, 2000
a small band of scientists with eccentric and discredited opinions
a few maverick American scientists
-The Economist, July 13, 2000, Dec 14, 2001
a small group of scientists
– Daily Californian, July 14, 2000
a tiny group of other so-called dissident researchers
– Chicago Tribune, April 14, 2000
– San Francisco Examiner, April 21, 2000
a small group of people
a fringe group of scientists
– Village Voice, March 15-21, 2000
– thebody.com
a few vocal people
– The Durban Declaration, Nature, July 6, 2000
a small group of mostly white Americans
a handful of white American deniers
– Salon.com, July 28, 2000
American fringe elements
-Newsday, March 29, 2000
No serious medical scientist doubts the causal link between HIV and AIDS.
– Washington Post, April 18, 2000
But Mbeki has for months been courting two dissident U.S. scientists, Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick, who deny that HIV causes AIDS.
– Reuters, April 19, 2000
Mbeki should not give equal weight to the views of two mavericks against the vast mass of research.
– Aegis.com, 2000
a small but vocal group of biomedical scientists.
how exceedingly small the number of professionals is who hold dissident views.
– British Medical Journal, 2004
a hardy group consisting of two or three scientists (whom no one funds)
– Toronto Globe and Mail, May 4, 2000
a handful of dissident scientists
– CNN, Reuters, September 22, 2000
– The Guardian (UK), July 10, 2000
a tiny minority of scientists
– Scientific American, August, 2001
a small group of dissidents
– New York Times, July 9, 2000
a tiny, widely discredited fringe group
– Business Day, South Africa, April 20, 2000
a small clique of scientists
– Inter Press Service, April 5, 2002
– aegis.com, 2002

A list of HIV doubters

The list of AIDS skeptics follows, too long to reproduce here without providing an expansion as below (next “sh