BOOK REVIEW (CONTRA COSTA TIMES)
For more than a decade, scientists have said HIV causes AIDS.
But Peter Duesberg, a pioneering researcher on retroviruses at the University
of California-Berkeley, has risked his career on his controversial stand
that HIV does not lead to AIDS.
The professor of molecular and cell biology is facing off against scientists
from the world's most prestigious institutions, including the National
Institutes of Health, World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
Medicine's inability to gain ground against the disease proves the virus
and AIDS are unrelated, Duesberg argues in his new and highly polemic book,
``Inventing the AIDS Virus.''
Government scientists, who linked HIV to AIDS in 1984, have misled the
nation and medical profession when it comes to AIDS research, he says.
Furthermore, Duesberg states, the effects of medicines prescribed to fight
AIDS including AZT, a powerful chemotherapeutic drug that kills growing
cells actually mirror the deadly disease.
Millions of dollars are funding research to find vaccines and therapies
for a harmless virus, Duesberg says. Meanwhile, people with HIV are needlessly
poisoning themselves with toxic medications.
He does not disagree that HIV is transmitted through sexual contact,
intravenous drug use, transfusions and from mothers to babies. But AIDS,
Duesberg says, is caused by long-term consumption of recreational drugs,
such as cocaine and heroin, and AIDS treatments - not HIV.
``Tragic deaths, time and money wasted, hysterical public debate over
a harmless virus these have been the fruits borne of a scientific establishment
grown too large for genuine science,'' Duesberg writes in his 722-page
Whether time proves him prophet or provocateur, Duesberg's book provides
a glimpse at the politics of science in this country. His book includes
200 pages of appendices and footnotes.
Though the nation's mainstream research establishment denounces his
conclusions, some high-profile scientists are open to his ideas, including
a handful of Nobel laureates, though they are not directly involved in
U.S. government scientists, however, say a strong relationship exists.
Eventually, nearly every person who has tested positive for HIV antibodies
has suffered from AIDS-related diseases associated with weakened immune
systems. Those without HIV do not.
The CDC did not recommend AZT as a therapy until 1985, a time when 15,948
Americans already were suffering from full-blown AIDS. Today, more than
15,000 children under the age of 13 have AIDS and it's unlikely that they
have spent years shooting up heroin.