BOOK REVIEW (JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION)
That HIV is not the sufficient and necessary cause of AIDS continues
to be argued by some mainstream scientists (see reviews in JSE 10
#3, 1996: 430-42); indeed, the ranks of those who take this view are swelling
-- see for instance the lists of names and other information at http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/.
The present collection of essays takes as a medical given that HIV=AIDS
is wrong and considers psycho-social and psychosomatic factors. The discussions
are relevant to psychosomatic illness, social psychology, faith-healing,
The first essay, "The group-fantasy origins of AIDS", is reprinted
from Journal of Psychohistory (Summer 1984). It is by Casper Schmidt,
M.D. and psychoanalyst, and will not find much favor with those who dislike
dogmatic Freudian assertiveness expressed in sweeping generalizations,
say "China is ignored as a superpower for purposes of fantasy, since
one has only two parents" (p. 38) or "This curb on phallic-assertiveness
created a feeling of gender dysphoria, which was then injected into the
nationís homosexuals in fantasy" (p. 39). However, some indubitably
substantive points are made:
The scapegoating of lepers during the Middle Ages bears similarities
to attitudes toward PWAs (People With AIDS) nowadays.
Epidemic hysteria is a well attested phenomenon.
Schmidt gives useful references to the literature about this, mentioning
several items that many anomalists will have come across, for example the
June-Bug epidemic and the phantom anesthetist of Mattoon. The specificity
such an epidemic can have is illustrated such incidents as one in Singapore
in which Malays were predominantly affected and the Thai koro epidemic
in which no ethnic Chinese (10% of the population) became infected.
Cliniciansí skepticism can be undermined by subconscious beliefs.
Casper Schmidt tries to make the case that the causes of AIDS are psycho-social.
Take this with as much salt as you wish: the subsequent essays make a very
strong case that psycho-social factors do play an important role
in who gets sick or dies. Lauritsenís chapter II, "Psychological and
toxicological causes of AIDS", briefly reviews salient points made
in his earlier writings: that "HIV infection" is diagnosed by
presence of antibodies, which in other diseases is taken as a sign of immunization;
that it is only a small sub-set of gay men that seem at special risk for
AIDS; that this small sub-set is known to have typically suffered recurring
sexually-transmitted diseases, treatment and over-treatment with antibiotics,
and high use of alcohol, tobacco and "recreational" drugs including
the "poppers" that are almost certainly the prime cause of Karposiís
Why did these men not mend their ways after the AIDS syndrome was noted?
For one thing, "denial: the lies an addict tells himself and others
in order to conceal, rationalize, and ultimately sustain his addiction".
There but for the grace of God go we all: think of the lies most of us
tell ourselves, after all, to avoid actually dieting or actually
giving up cigarettes or maintaining any of our other annual New-Yearís
resolutions. Both Lauritsen and long-time surviving PWA Michael Callen
claim to have not found an AIDS sufferer who did not fit this sub-set description,
albeit a few of them had initially lied about it (p. 85).
The gay scene after "liberation", Lauritsen points out, involved
group activity: "If something was done, everyone did it. At
a disco like The Saint, several thousand gay men would be on the same drug
at the same time. An hour or so later, word would get around that it was
"Special K time", and everybody would go on that" (p. 91).
What might the long-term effects be of even a short period of high intakes
of "poppers, MDA, quaaludes, LSD, alcohol, cocaine and Special K"
Lauritsen also reminds of the changing definition of "AIDS"
after HIV was discovered: "In 1982 someone who earned an ĎAIDSí diagnosis
was very close to death; after 1992 someone could acquire an ĎAIDSí diagnosis
without even being sick" (p. 97). Here the psycho-social factors can
hardly be gainsaid: given a positive HIV-antibody test, "Gay men were
programmed by the AIDS Establishment to become sick; they were provided
with a schedule, told not only that they ought to become sick, but
exactly how and when to become sick" (p. 98). Recall
the well-known epidemic hysteria that affects medical students, who "suffer"
vicariously many of the symptoms of many diseases as they learn about them
without anyone telling them that they have those diseases. If HIV
doesnít cause AIDS, but everyone is convinced it does, what might we expect
to happen to someone who tests positive and is then prescribed significant
doses of toxic "drugs" which themselves mimic many of the symptoms
of AIDS, thereby reinforcing the belief that he is ill?
In Chapters III & IV, George Hazlehurst draws parallels with his
experience of survivors at Hiroshima, where the rate of premature death
exceeded that medically traceable to radiation effects. He reminds us that
HIV-AIDS is unique in postulating no natural survivors; and "the only
disease where treatment with powerful drugs is begun several to many years
prior to the actual onset of any illness, when there is still the possibility
that AIDS may never develop" (p. 105). How well the Establishment
and the media silence dissidents is illustrated by the fact that Hazlehurst,
a medical practitioner, learned first in the summer of 1994 that
a significant number of scientists dispute the HIV-AIDS hypothesis. Today,
he points out, "The doctor is a technician ... a highly trained professional
caught up in a narrowly mechanistic medical system ... to follow the strict
rules provided from above" (p. 114) -- illustrated say by the Virginia
doctor whose license was recently suspended for 6 months because he had
given many patients with intolerable pain enough narcotics to ease their
suffering; the pharmacist who filled the prescriptions also lost his license!
Hazlehurst does a fine job of describing how the system can produce
nauseating results even when the actors have no malevolent intent, just
"play it safe", "go with the rules", wishfully think
that the drugs they invent or produce might be of benefit.
The psychological pressure on PWAs includes "a glorification of
HIV/AIDS ... as a magnet of compassion and a celebrity life -- a meaning
and purpose for lives that may have lacked such qualities before being
infected and pitied, and even taking on heroic proportions as kinds of
martyrs. Here were lives perhaps lacking in self-esteem suddenly in the
forefront of an historic meaning, victims of the great AIDS epidemic of
the latter part of the 20th century" (p. 117). "Primitive peoples
... would recognize a hex when they saw one" but we are "far
too civilized, educated, and sophisticated to believe in the casting of
spells, and when we are all hexed by the AIDS industryís hoax, we ... have
no remedies in place to deal with" it.
Chapter V is an interview with Casper Schmidt, raising an intriguing
issue about "the psychology of hemophilia. All the male children with
hemophilia are subjected to the most restrictive regimen, which inhibits
their ability to express aggression" -- a stress that Schmidt thought
might weaken the immune system. At the end of the chapter we learn that
Schmidt himself died of AIDS, far from the first physician who could not
Michael Ellner & Andrew Cort, in "Programmed to die: cultural
hypothesis & AIDS", (Chapter VI) remind us that people in Africa,
Australia, and Haiti indubitably do die when they have been marked
for death by voodoo or by bone-pointing. It is then chilling to read the
following chapter, in which Cass Mann describes "Deadly counsels:
the necrophiliacs of ĎAIDSí": how following the advice of Elisabeth
Kubler-Ross, innumerable "counselors" urge their clients to
prepare for death as soon as they have tested HIV-positive! It seems
hard to believe that at a Westminster Abbey "Celebration of Life"
associated with the Fifth International Conference for People with HIV/AIDS
there was this reading from Kubler-Ross (p. 152):
Is it possible that people with HIV and AIDS, children and adults alike,
chose to contribute their short life spans on planet Earth
to help us to open our eyes, to raise our consciousness, to open our heart
and minds, and finally to see the light? [emphasis added]
"Being a gay man today in a commercial gay culture is in and
of itself a toxic and dangerous condition": for gay "liberation"
led to infantile excesses; a life-style inappropriate for adults became
the cultural norm, and now thereís added a supposedly incurable virus that
makes living beyond 40 or so in any case moot.
Chapter VIII, by Lauritsen, is a telling indictment of AZT, reprinted
from his The Aids War. Chapter IX is by Michael Callen who survived
a dozen years after a diagnosis of AIDS (note, not just HIV antibodies).
He makes this unfamiliar but crucial point: "The activists only seem
to talk about two possible outcomes to taking an experimental drug: one
is that it works and the other is that it doesnít work. But there is a
third, much more common possibility, which is that you will be worse off
than if you did nothing at all" (p. 186).
The last chapter by Ian Young returns to some chilling psychological
facts, notably "a psychological epidemic among uninfected gay men"
(p. 188). They suffer "survivorís guilt": "in todayís breezy,
out-of-the-closet gay ghetto, HIV Negative men tend to be profoundly clinically
depressed, anxious, disoriented, hypochondriacal, uncertain about the future,
sexually dysfunctional, deeply demoralized and psychically numb" (p.
189). "AIDS is increasingly presented as the new Gay Lifestyle ...
everything revolves around AIDS" (p. 192). "All my friends are
Positive -- how can I relate to them?" "I feel like Iím being
left out of the great event of our time". "I feel as if I wonít
really have come out until Iím HIV Positive" (p. 195) ... There is
also the "attitude, widespread in the gay community, that only PWAs
and HIV Positives have a right to express strong feelings" (p. 193).
"In 1992, the Act Up chapter in Chicago split into two factions, one
for HIV Positive people, the other for HIV Negatives. The possibility that
a member might not know his Ďstatusí was presumably unthinkable" (p.
So "the actual consequences of the AIDS System are at variance
with its stated aims". Part of that stems indubitably from the preoccupation
of modern medicine with technological fixings. This book makes the case
that this part is a very large one. There is no index but a useful brief
bibliography and URLs for Internet sites with much further information.